Care of Miami’s best Greek restaurant, Mandolin.
To put it bluntly, Anastasia Koutsioukis—otherwise known as the co-owner of Mandolin (quite possibly the best restaurant in Miami), otherwise known as @mrsmandolin (the prettiest food-meets-travel-meets-generally-aspirational-lifestyle Instagram out there)—is the woman you wish you could be when you *grow up.* She’s the kind of person who can simultaneously whip you up a four-course breakfast while chatting about Mandolin’s world domination (the restaurant is now in four Soho House locations across the globe) and opening a new Mrs. Mandolin lifestyle store and restaurant in Miami, all without breaking a sweat in Gianvito Rossi stilettos. And we know this because that’s exactly what she did for us when we visited her at her Miami Design District home. In all honesty, when we showed up, we expected that Koutsioukis would maybe share one recipe and then show us how she manages to make her dishes look so damn pretty. Instead she shared half a dozen and patiently explained to us the intricacies of making beautiful food, the lesson being that if food looks good, it probably tastes good too. Put that maxim to the test with this melon salad—we promise you’ll be the hit of any potluck or barbecue you’re attending this weekend.
Aegean Melon Salad
1 small orange-flesh honeydew melon/cantaloupe (Tip:When buying a melon, the fruit should have a blossomy smell to it and be slightly soft to the touch to ensure ripeness and sweetness.)
3/4 cup Greek feta cheese
1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon (generous pinch) Aleppo pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoky pepper (urfa pepper/chipotle or smoked paprika)
Drizzle of Greek thyme honey (optional)
Small bunch of fresh mint (about 10-12 leaves)
Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Take half the melon, and cut in quarters. Slice the melon in half-moon pieces about 2 inches thick, and assemble them on a plate. Take a small slab of feta and rinse it with cold water to remove the brine. Crumble the feta with your fingers in imperfect chunks over the melon, then chop the pistachios in fine pieces and sprinkle over the melon. Next, drizzle olive oil over the melon and feta, and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt or maldon salt and spices to taste. If you like heat, you can be more generous with the Aleppo pepper. Lightly drizzle a touch of honey over the dish, and top with roughly torn mint leaves. Use the remaining leaves as garnish.