Soup, pickles, appetizer, barbecued ... all with melons.
To begin a meal, play the sharp contrasts of chili and lime against cool melon. Lightly pickle fresh melon to serve as an appetizer or with meats and fish. Puree melon and spike with hot chilies to make a cold first-course soup. Or, for a refreshing main dish, grill skewered melon with skewered meats. Pair the fruit with smoked meat for a salad. To create an elegant dessert, fill small melons with liqueurs, or make the quick and easy ginger-nut sprinkle to top slices or chunks of melon for serving anytime.
Melon Wedges with Chili and Lime For each serving, place a seeded 3-inch wedge of melon (green or orange honeydew, Crenshaw, Persian, casaba, Santa Claus, Jaune Canari, Sharlyn, cantaloupe) on a salad plate. Slide a small, sharp knife between rind and flesh to free flesh, but keep flesh in place. Cut down through the melon to make one- or two-bite-size pieces.
Cut 3 to 5 thin crosswise slices from center of 1 lime. Insert slices, 1 at a time, into center slits of melon. Squeeze remaining lime over melon. Mix equal parts salt and cayenne; sprinkle lightly over melon.
Fresh Melon Pickles 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon each minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon each dry tarragon, fresh dill or dill weed, and fresh mint leaves 2 cups 1-inch melon cubes (casaba, Santa Claus, green or orange honeydew, Persian, cantaloupe)
In a bowl, mix vinegar, sugar, tarragon, dill, and mint until sugar is dissolved. Stir in melon cubes. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 1 daay; sti occasionally. Makes 2 cups, or 6 servings.
Chilled Melon Soup 1 whole or piece (6-1/2 to 8 lb.) green honeydew, Crenshaw, Persian, casaba, Santa Claus, Jaune Canari, or Sharlyn melon; or 2 medium-size (2-3/4 to 3-1/4 lb. each) cantaloupe or orange honeydew melons 2 fresh serrano or jalapeno chilies, /seeded and minced; or 1/4 teaspoon liquid hot pepper seasoning 2 teaspoons salad oil 1/2 cup fruity white wine, such as Gewurztraminer or Chenin Blanc 2/3 cup lime or lemon juice 2 tablespoons honey 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 2 or 3 strawberries, thinly sliced 3 or 4 thin slices fresh serrano or jalapeno chilies, or green bell pepper (optional)
If using green honeydew, Crenshaw, Persian, or casaba melon, cut off top third. If using Santa Claus, Jaune Canari, or Sharlyn, rest melon on a side and slice one quarter off upper side. Scoop out and discard seeds. With a spoon, scoop flesh from melon (including top); you need 8 to 10 cups. Chill shell 2 hours or as long as 2 days.
If using cantaloupe or orange honeydew, cut in half. Scoop out and discard seeds, cut off rind, and chop enough melon to make 8 to 10 cups.
In a 1- to 2-quart pan, cook minced chiliers in oil on medium-high heat, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, uncovered. (Or bring wine to boil in pan and add liquid hot pepper seasoning.) Remove from heat.
In a food processor or blender, puree melon pieces, chili-wine mixture, lime juice, honey, and pepper, a portion at a time. Pour into a bowl; cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours or up to 2 days.
To serve, steady reserved melon shell in a bowl of crushed ice and pour soup into shell; or serve in a bowl. Garnish with strawberry and chili slices. Makes 6 to 8 servings, about 1-cup size.
Skewered Grilled Melon and Meat 1/2 large onion, cut into about 1-1/4-inch pieces 8 to 12 seeded wedges (each 1-1/2 in. thick) cantaloupe, green or ornage honeydew, Persian, Jaune Canari, Sharlyn, casaba, or Santa Claus 1-1/2 pounds boneless lamb or pork shoulder or leg, cut into about 1-1/4-inch chunks Rosemary citrus marinade (recipe follows) Salt
Separate onion into layers. Place melon, onion, meat, and marinade in a large plastic food storage bag; fit inside another plastic bag and set in a pan. Press air from bags and seal. Chill 4 hours or overnight. Turn bag over 2 or 3 times.
Lift melon, onion, and meat from marinade; reserve marinade. Lay 4 melon wedges on a flat surface, with flesh of 1 piece against the rind of the next. Push 1 sturdy bamboo or metal skewer through the center of melon pieces to hold them in place. Push 2 more skewers parallel and about 1 inch from each side of the first so the melon doesn't slip around. Repeat with eaach 4 wedges of melon.
Alternately thread meate and onion onto skewers; put about 6 pieces meat on each.
Place skewered meat on a barbecue grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals. Turn meat as needed to brown evenly, brushing frequently with reserved marinade. Cook lamb until it is just slightly pink in the center (cut to test), about 20 minutes. Cook pork until no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 25 minutes. Ten to 15 minutes before meat is done, lay skewered melon on grill and baste often with marinade. Turn once or twice until hot; if melon begins to fall apart, remove at once from grill. Add salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.
Rosemary citrus marinade. Whisk together 1/2 cup each orange, lemon, and lime juice; 1/3 cup honey; 1/4 cup each chopped onion and olive or salad oil; 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard; 2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dry rosemary leaves; 1/2 teaspoon each ground coriander and ground nutmeg; and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Melon Salad with Smoked Meat 1 piece (3 to 4 lb.) green honeydew, Persian, Jaune Canari, or Santa Claus melon; or 1 whole (2-3/4 to 3-1/4 lb.) cantaloupe or orange honeydew, cut in half lengthwise 1/4 pound Chinese pea pods, ends and strings removed Water 1 smoked chicken (2-1/2 to 3-1/2 lb.), or 1/2 pound thinly sliced pastrami, 1/3 pound thinly sliced dry salami, or 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto 3 or 4 large butter lettuce leaves, washed and crisped Fresh oregano or parsley sprigs Herb and cheese dressing (recipe follows)
Scoop out melon seeds and discard; cut off rind and discard. Cut melon sections lengthwise into 1-inch-thick wedges and set aside.
In a 2- to 3-quart pan, add peas to 1 inch boiling water. Boil, uncovered, until bright green, about 30 seconds; drain. Immerse peas in cold water until cool; drain and set aside.
Pull skin off chicken and discard. Tear meat from bones into bite-size pieces; discard bones.
On a large platter, arrange melon, peas, and chicken (or sliced meat). Garnish with lettuce and oregano sprigs. Moisten peas with a small portion of the herb and cheese dressing. Serve with remaining dressing to spoon over individual portions. Serves 4.
Herb and cheese dressing. Blend together 1/2 cup olive or salad oil, 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon each minced onion and Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves. Just before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) crumbled unripened or soft-ripened goat cheese (such as Montrachet or bucheron).
Melon salad with smoked trout. Make melon salad (preceding) with Jaune Canari, Sharlyn, green or orange honeydew. Use 1 pound smoked trout instead of chicken or meat; gently pull off and discard skin and bones. Using a fork, break fish with the grain into bite-size chevrons.
Melon Half-shell with Liqueur
For 2 servings, cut in half 1 small (2 to 2-1/2 lb.) orange honeydew or cantaloupe; scoop out and discard the seeds. Place each melon half on a dessert plate (you may need to cut a slice off the bottom so melon will sit steady).
Pour into the center of each half about 2 tablespoons hazelmut, almond, black raspberry, orange-flavored, or currant (cassis) liqueur. Garnish melon or plate with fresh mint sprigs and toasted nuts (directions follow), or fruit such as raspberries, grapes, or candied orange peel. You may want to match the accompaniment to the liqueur.
Toasted nuts. Place 1/4 cup whole hazelnuts (filberts) or almonds on a paper towel in a microwave oven, or in an 8- or 9-inch pie pan in a 350[deg.] oven. Cook until nuts are golden (check under skin, if necessary, or crack a nut to test); allow 4 to 5 minutes on full power in microwave oven, 7 to 8 minutes in oven.
Ginger-Nut Sprinkle for Melon
In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds (see directions for melon half-shell with liqueur, preceding, to toast nuts) and 2 tablespoons each finely chopped candied ginger and sugar; mix until well blended.
Sprinkle equally over 4 melon wedges (green or orange honeydew, Crenshaw, Jaune Canari, Sharlyn, Persian, or cantaloupe). Makes 4 servings.
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|Date:||Aug 1, 1985|
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