Cooking Cove: A Collection of Melon Recipes

Barbara Beltrami

Once a melon is a melon. Point. My mother would cut a cantaloupe or honeydew in half or quarters, scoop out the seeds, throw a salt shaker on the table, and it was a cantaloupe, the only way I knew how. Watermelon got a slightly different treatment; it was halved or quartered and cut into triangles, but there was no salt.

But now the melon has become a completely new phenomenon. Used in an amazing variety of preparations and dishes, it is all grown and is no longer a solitary but a real ingredient in many recipes.

You’re probably familiar with melon or honeydew with prosciutto and watermelon with feta cheese, two winning combinations that prove that sweet and salty complement each other perfectly. Maybe you’ve even had melon gazpacho, soup, or salad topped with hot herbs, spices, and vegetables. My mother would be incredulous!

Melon salad with shrimp, Prosciutto and feta

EDITION: From 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked

Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon

3 pounds cantaloupe, seeded, peeled, and cut into chunks

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 tablespoon of honey

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 slices of prosciutto, cut into pieces

1/2 cup crumbled feta

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp, lemon juice, and cantaloupe mixture with the onion, jalapeño, and bell pepper. Cover and chill for at least one hour. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, honey, oil, salt and pepper. When ready to serve, toss the shrimp and melon mixture with the lime juice mixture and top with the prosciutto and feta. Serve immediately with cornbread. .

Melon salsa

EDITION: Makes about 3 cups

INGREDIENTS:

Zest from 1 small lime

1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon of sugar

Freshly ground white pepper to taste

3 cups of seeded and chopped cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelon, or a combination thereof

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

1 mango, peeled and finely chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

Chop the leaves of one sprig of fresh basil

1 clove of garlic, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine lime zest, juice, sugar, and pepper; add remaining ingredients, mix, cover and chill for up to 4 hours. Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer or with grilled beef, pork or chicken

Green gazpacho with honey dew

EDITION: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 ripe melon, cleaned of seeds, skin and coarsely chopped

1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup seedless green grapes, washed, halved

1 cup packed arugula

1/4 cup of chopped basil leaves

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Cut 4 onions, white and green parts

1 serrano chili, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

Freshly squeezed juice of one lime

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped or diced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 glass of sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

In the bowl of an electric food processor, blend the cantaloupe, cucumber, kiwi, grapes, arugula, basil, cilantro, onion, chili, oil, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, avocado, salt, and pepper; stop to scrape the bowl often. Once smooth, transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least one hour. Ladle into four soup bowls, top each with a dollop of sour cream and serve with corn, bean and tomato salad.

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