Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cantaloupe with Salsa Verde

Look what was in abundance at the Farmer's Market. Cantaloupe. Or do you call it muskmelon?

When I was a girl we used to eat wedges of these with a little salt sprinkled over them--a sweet, slurpy, salty, taste of summer. We ate this a lot and inevitably, by the end of August my stance on cantaloupe was, "OVER IT!

If that sounds like you, it's time to bring in some other ingredients and change it up a little. I had a lot of fresh herbs on hand, my Serrano peppers that finally were ready for picking and some lovely walnut oil. How about a salsa verde? Salsa verde literally means "green sauce" and contains fresh herbs, an acid (usually vinegar), aromatics (shallot, red onion, capers, chili flakes) and oil. It's delicious on grilled meats, fish, bread so why not fruit!

Serves 8

1 ripe cantaloupe, seeded and cubed
3 T minced red onion
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, tightly packed
1/4 cup Thai basil or regular basil leaves
1/3 cup of walnut oil
3 t grated ginger
1/8 t salt
2 T lime juice

Chop mint, cilantro and basil leaves. Combine with minced onion, ginger, walnut oil, salt and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour over cantaloupe. Chill and serve.

*Variations-add toasted pumpkin seeds and cubed feta cheese

Buy a knob of ginger, which is cheap, cheap, cheap, by the way. Peel it with a spoon. Use the edges of the spoon to just scrape that skin off. Then use a microplane or grater on your ginger instead of a knife. The stringy fibers are hard to cut finely. Then put it in a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer. The next time you need ginger, use it frozen. Peel it with the spoon and grate what you need and back in the freezer. Don't let it defrost before using, just use it frozen.

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