Greek lamb with watermelon salad

23 January 2012
by Phuoc

Hi there!

Remember me? I know it’s been a while since my last blog post but from the get-go, this year has started off fairly busy. The first weekend started off with me being the official wedding photographer for a friend over 2 days of celebration; whilst it was a great experience for me, I won’t lie, I was extremely exhausted by the end of it all. For the week following the wedding, it was basically a mad dash to sort through the 2500+ photos I took, make/print DVD discs/case covers and burn the pictures onto the DVDs accordingly. All of this obviously on top of starting back at uni as a 2nd year PhD student, beginning a weekly photography project AND getting back into martial arts training.

I have anticipated a crazy year ahead so please accept my apologies for the irregularity to come. I’ve taken on a fair bit this year, let’s hope I get through to the other side unscathed.

Anywho, moving along onto the important stuff. The food! I’ve made this once before for Ant some time ago and every now and then we would reminisce about it being one of the memorable dishes I’ve cooked for him. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon it but I’m glad I have. I love pairing fruit and meat together. Now some of you are possibly thinking “Watermelon and lamb?! Do they really go together?” and you’d be surprised.

This watermelon salad is awesome! Saltiness from the olives is balanced with the sweet and juicy pieces of watermelon, and the Danish feta adds a depth of creaminess. It is definitely a refreshing salad, good enough to be served on its own on a warm day. On this particular occasion though, I wasn’t too happy with the lamb, I had bought a crummy piece of lamb backstrap to start off with and it was slightly overcooked. However, that won’t defer me from making this dish again, I just need to find a better butcher!


Adapted from here

Serves 2



1 tsp cumin seeds

2 sprigs (1 tbsp) fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

50mL olive oil

2 x 250g lamb backstrap, trimmed

100g tzatziki, to serve

Watermelon salad

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

300g watermelon flesh, roughly chopped

60g Danish feta, crumbled

60g pitted kalamata olives

grated zest of 1/2 lemon


  1. Pound cumin, rosemary, peppercorns, chilli, zest and 1 tsp salt in a mortar and pestle, until coarsely ground. Stir in oil.
  2. Place lamb in a shallow dish, pour over marinade, then turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C (428F). Over medium-high heat, sear the lamb on all sides, turning for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the lamb to a baking tray, then roast in the oven for 7 minutes for medium-rare, or until cooked to your liking. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, for the watermelon salad, whisk together the oil and lemon juice, then season and toss in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients.
  6. Slice the lamb backstrap and serve with the watermelon salad and tzatziki on the side.

Print this recipe


  1. Tina @ bitemeshowme

    Watermelon is my all time favourite fruit! Can’t wait to try it with lamb ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. john@heneedsfood

    This is something I’d really like to try. I think I’ve had watermelon salad only once or twice. I just never think to make it. The lamb sounds delicious as well!

  3. Rita (mademoiselle dรฉlicieuse)

    I remember first coming across a watermelon and fetta salad in a Nigella Lawson series as well as the accompanying cookbook. And, as weird as it seemed to sound to me at the time, after trying the combo years later whilst dining out I ended up being completely sold on the idea!

    And 2500+ photos?!? *faint*

  4. Richard Elliot

    I’ve had watermelon in salads before and love its refreshing quality, but like John it never occurs to cook with it!

    Your photography is getting better and better. I love the first photo!

  5. Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul

    Oh Phuoc…I am so proud of you! This whole creation screams “Greek’! Bravo…love it all!

  6. Katherine

    I do love a good lamb dish. I have tried the water melon salad in the past but I have grilled the watermelon which gives it a unique flavour. Yum..

  7. Simon @ the heart of food

    The use of salty elements with the watermelon makes sense though I never would have thought to incorporate lamb with it too.

    Looks like it’d be a very interesting combo ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Martyna @ WholesomeCook

    Oh, the olive and watermelon combination sounds nice actually, saltly sweet. Will have to try it before summer is out.

  9. Tenille @ My Family Table

    This sounds really lovely. I’m not sure I could convince my family to go with the watermelon/feta/olive combination (they aren’t good with trying new things), but the rub you’ve created for the lamb sounds delicious.

  10. Rhonda (The Dainty Baker)

    I’ve never tried this combo before but looks interesting! lol u gotta show me some of ur martial arts moves next time ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Phuoc

    Tina: Yes, I love watermelon as well. Actually, I love most Summer fruits

    John: It’s so refreshing, I wish I can have it all the time.

    Rita: Indeed, thought it was a little odd at first, especially combining the olive with watermelon, but from the first bite, there was no turning back. Luckily for me though that I didn’t have to process them all.

    Richard: Thanks!

    Peter: Awww that means a lot coming from you *does a little dance*

    Katherine: Ooooo must give this grilled watermelon a go

    Simon: Whilst it’s not so much like the pairing of duck with orange or pork with apple for example, I think the watermelon salad would make a good accompaniment with almost any different meat (though I haven’t tried it)

    Martyna: Everytime I think about this salad I can immediately taste it, it’s pretty good ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tenille: Awww it’s a shame, well I hope you enjoy the rub if you get to try that out

    Rhonda: HAHA sure! :p

  12. nic@diningwithastud

    So glad your mad photography skills paid off ๐Ÿ˜‰ love the mix of watermelon and lamb. Looks fab!

  13. Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    You lamb looks beautifully cooked. Love watermelon and feta.

  14. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Congratulations on your first wedding photography gig! I’m not surprised it was exhausting, especially when you took so many photos!

    I love the sound of the watermelon salad. I keep reading about watermelon and feta salads but I’m yet to try it as I usually just eat watermelon as is.

  15. Phuoc

    Nic: lol thanks dear!

    Sara: Thanks but it was slightly overcooked, would have preferred it to be slightly pink, next time I guess…

    Jennifer: It’s worth a try at least once

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