Ok, so it seems I’ve gone and got myself a rep. One fine market day, one of our usual farmer’s market vendors and I got around to talking about the fruity seasons changing from berries to stone fruit, which ones are about ready to be harvested in his orchards and all that jazz. Of course the conversation quickly changed to recipe-talk and he caught on to my penchant for using his fruit, along with his veggies, in a slightly unusual, savory context rather than going with the “normal”.
Evidently excited by the idea, he’s been asking me what I’m about to do to his “babies” whenever there’s time for a comfy foodie talk in between customers, sometimes taking notes, sometimes bouncing ideas around with me or helping me refine a blurry idea ghosting around in my head.
A few weeks ago, he greeted hubby and me from far away, holding up a pale yellow orb with all the glowing pride of a loving father: a perfectly ripe representative of his experimental backyard-batch of Charentais melons. “Tell me what you would do with this and I’ll consider selling it to you”, he said with a wink. With the melon’s aroma tickling our noses from a meter away, hubby and I blurted out “Serrano Ham” in unison. The good man gave us a jaded look and a “That’s unusually classic for you two…”, so I reconsidered and suggested one of my other favorite sweet melon + X combos, my Melon & Smoked Salmon Salad with Wasabi Dressing. He grinned and wordlessly handed me the melon. I admit, I couldn’t resist – with the aroma of the melon scenting the entire apartment, I simply had to plate up a few slices of it with some Serrano Ham! A match made in heaven… But, honoring deals even when there’s nobody watching, I used the remaining two thirds of it to whip up this salad, as promised~!
These amounts will net you 4 servings as a starter. If you feel like digging into this as a main dish, make sure you have something solid to go with it, a nice and hearty slice of bread or something along those lines – while the taste of it, at least in my book, keeps asking to be devoured in larger quantities, the consistency tends to disagree after a starter-sized serving of it. While you might feel full, what with all the juice sloshing around in your belly, you probably wouldn’t call it “satisfying”.
Melon Salad with Smoked Salmon and Wasabi-Dressing
½ Galia Melon
½ Charentais or Cantaloupe Melon – basically, you can use any two or even three types of yellow melons for this, but the Galia/Charentais combo works best for my tastebuds
8 thin Slices of Smoked Salmon
4 thin Slices of pickled Ginger, very finely chopped
Alt: 1 Tsp of freshly grated Ginger
1 Tbsp Wasabi Paste – have a taste of the melons first. If they’re very ripe and intense, you might need more ooomph to break through the sweetness.
Alt: 1 Tbsp freshly grated Horseradish – Open. Window. First.
4 heaped Tsp Chives, finely chopped
Alt: ½ Bunch of Watercress
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
2 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
1) Halve and deseed the melons, then either segment them before removing the skins and dicing them into bite-sized cubes or have at them with one of those melon ball scoop thingies to simply spoon pretty orbs out of the melon halves. If you’re going down that road, you might even be able to use the emptied melon halves as bowls for the salad – while I’ve done this with my King Prawns & Mustard-Melon Dip many times before, using the fruit’s skins that way for this salad as well only occurred to me just now, while I’m writing this down for you guys… after I struggled to arrange the silly things in a photogenic way… <insert facepalm moment here>
2) Anyways, place your melon orbs or cubes in a large mixing bowl for now and set them aside.
3) Add the Wasabi, the rice vinegar, a pinch of salt, soy sauce and oil to a small bowl and whisk the mixture until the paste has dissolved completely.
4) Drizzle the melons with this mixture and gently fold in the ginger until the melons are nicely glossed over with the dressing.
5) Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the melons to marinate for about 30 mins. The salty components in the thick’ish dressing will pull out some of the delicious melon juices during that time, dotting the I on that sauce on it’s own.
6) Have a taste of the dressing and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, with a sprinkle of salt or a few drops of vinegar.
7) Divide the melons and the dressing onto four plates and arrange the salmon slices on top.
8) Sprinkle the servings with the chive ringlets or watercress leaves and serve immediately~!