In December 1956, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash got together for an impromptu jam session known as the Million Dollar Quartet. Imagine if they’d made a salad instead of jam…
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According to legend, Elvis Presley was listening to a Carl Perkins recording session and, enjoying what he heard, decided to join in, soon followed by Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. The sound engineer, wisely, decided that this might be worth recording and captured the session for posterity. The recording was first released in 1981. A jukebox musical, Million Dollar Quartet, featuring songs from the jam session and other contemporary hits, has appeared on Broadway and the West End in recent years and is currently touring the US and the UK. (It was also the basis for one of our infamous coffee puns, See You Latte Alligator). This story has recently been retold on a new TV show, Sun Records, on the US network CMT.
Hot, cool, sweet and salty are terms equally applicable to the legendary singers in the Million Dollar Quartet and the key ingredients in this refreshing summer salad. Our quartet of key ingredients are watermelon, feta cheese, fresh mint, red chilli (I will leave you to decide which ingredient represents which singer!) The quantities are entirely up to you as it depends on your tastes and number of servings.
Cube the watermelon (deseeded or not, up to you) and add to your serving dish, seasoning with a little salt. Crumble over sufficient feta to contrast with the melon and scatter over some torn mint leaves and chopped red chilli (would suggest less is more – a hint of heat is probably sufficient). Finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a twist of black pepper.
A couple of variations: try substituting basil instead of mint, finely sliced red onion instead of chilli, and you could also include a few olives.