July 26, 2012
Cantaloupe & Cucumber Salad and Unexpected Pleasures
I wasn't planning on this one, but sometimes I find inspiration in the darndest places and, as much as I sometimes try, my life doesn't always go according to plan, so why should my blog?
This salad was my lunch today - it's not all that special. There isn't a particular knack to making it. The ingredients, separately, aren't all that interesting. But, this salad is tasty enough that it became an unexpected day brightener at lunchtime, and it'll play a supporting role to the fish I'm going to eat for dinner, too. It got me thinking about how people probably don't think of cantaloupe, or melon in general, for savory dishes. So, in the spirit of spontaneity and life's unexpected pleasures I want to put forth this incredibly easy dish for you to shake up your summer melon repertoire.
I don't need to tell you that it's colorful and that you'll eat it with your eyes first - you can see that. I don't need to tell you that it's summery and refreshing - the very presence of sweet summer cantaloupe made heavy by its juices, accompanied by crisp, hydrating cucumber lets you know that. The cucumbers crunch and the cantaloupe doesn't. The tarragon provides a whisper of licorice and the mint brightens. Rice wine vinegar and a dash of lime lend acid, while a dash of olive oil helps the sour, spice, sweet and salt stick to your tongue. I could tell you that this dish will dance on your taste buds, but instead, I want you to take it for a whirl yourself.
What you'll need:
1/2 large cantaloupe, skin removed and sliced
1 cucumber, sliced in semi-circles
A generous pinch of sea salt
A generous pinch of sugar
A generous pinch of red chili flakes
4 dashes rice wine vinegar
1 squeeze fresh lime juice
small handful fresh mint, chopped
small handful fresh tarragon, chopped
A dash of olive or grapeseed oil
In a large bowl, combine the salt, sugar, chili flakes, vinegar, lime juice, mint, tarragon and oil. Whisk to incorporate and ensure the salt and sugar dissolve. Taste and adjust seasoning as you like.
Add the sliced cantaloupe and cucumbers. Toss gently to dress.
Garnish with a few leaves of fresh tarragon and mint.
Posted by Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn