and Watermelon Stir-fry.
and the melons are juicy.
are at least 25 kinds of melons in this world, from Bailan
to Winter Melons, from Canary to Crenshaw, from Apollo to
Santa Claus. But in this country, when we talk about melons
— something we do not do often enough, to my way of
thinking — we talk about the Big Three: cantaloupe,
honeydew and watermelon.
themselves, or preferably with a squeeze of lime or lemon
juice, these melons cannot be beat. So sweet. So pure.
challenge lies in knowing what to do with them other than
serving them au naturel. And there are several good options:
puree them into a cold soup, freeze them into a refreshing
granita, serve them as a sweet element in a salad.
which are excellent ideas. But they are also kind of …
expected. Been there, eaten that.
we are going to break out of the melon rut, we’ll have to
find unusual ways of presenting them, new preparations that
still bring out the best of the fruit.
talking about something unexpected, something along the
lines of using cantaloupe in a pasta sauce. We’re talking
about Spaghetti al Melone.
al Melone comes to us from TV cooking star Giada de
Laurentiis, who in turn got it, she has said, from her
Italian grandmother. It mixes the expected, spaghetti and
Parmesan, with a couple of unexpected ingredients,
cantaloupe and whiskey.
it all together is a cream sauce made from heavy whipping
cream and butter.
could argue that anything would taste great when covered
with enough heavy cream and butter, and you might be right.
But Spaghetti al Melone stands on its own as an exceptional
dish because of the way the cantaloupe works with the cream
melon makes the spaghetti a little sweet, but not
unpleasantly so. Rather, it seems like a natural enhancer of
the cream sauce, giving it body and an intriguingly
delighted as I was by the Spaghetti al Melone, I was even
more excited to make my next dish, Watermelon Kimchi.
is that (usually) spicy Korean side dish made from cabbage
or other vegetables. And, as it turns out, not just
vegetables. You can use the rind of a watermelon to make it,
extraordinary. The watermelon rind, bland but crisp and
refreshing, makes the perfect foil for the very spicy, but
lightly sweet sauce that is common to most types of kimchi.
distinctive flavor, and its fiery color, comes from the
liberal use of crushed Korean red pepper, which is also
called gochugaru. I found it at an international food store
(unexpectedly, the brand I used was made in China). For the
true kimchi taste, be sure to use this pepper. Any other
substitute will not produce the same flavor.
cool down after the spicy kimchi, I made a version of the
most refreshing drink I have ever had.
first encountered fruit shakes many years ago. It was in the
summer. In the desert. During a heat wave.
hot, I’m telling you. And then I saw a stand selling fruit
shakes. I ordered one, had my first sip, and it was as if I’d
sipped and gone to heaven.
make a fruit shake, all you need is cantaloupe, milk, sugar,
ice and a blender. Put them all together and you have a cool
and remarkably satisfying Cantaloupe Fruit Shake.
it sounds like a smoothie. But I first had it before I’d
even heard of a smoothie. Besides, "fruit shake"
is a much more sophisticated term than "smoothie."
"Smoothie" sounds like something you would say to
a child to trick him into swallowing his medicine.
tricks needed here. Fruit shakes are the ultimate
thirst-quencher on a hot summer’s day.
next dish I made also combines the hot with the cool. I
grilled chicken breasts and served them with a honeydew
salsa, and the salsa is a marvel of balance and proportion.
Sweet and cool elements come from the diced honeydew, which
is offset by the heat of minced serrano chile.
is provided by both lime juice and lime zest, and lime is
also, of course, a perfect pairing with the honeydew.
Cilantro adds extra depth and freshness, with a subtle bite
provided by chopped red onion.
salsa is a star. Try it with fish, too.
I tried a recipe that seemed so unusual I couldn’t resist.
You start out with a basic beef stir-fry — this one uses
sugar snap peas in place of the more common pea pods. Then,
when it is all cooked, you lace it with sticks of fresh
watermelon works to bring out the best of the hoisin sauce,
and vice versa. It adds a cool, crisp contrast to the
garlic-ginger-onion warmth of the rest of the dish.
like a little bit of dessert in every bite.
4 to 6 servings
pound spaghetti pasta
cups grated Parmesan
(2-pound) cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch
pieces (about 4 cups)
heavy whipping cream
tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch
pieces, at room temperature
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the
bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and
place in a serving bowl. Add the Parmesan and toss well.
Place the cantaloupe in a food processor and blend until
chunky. Set aside.
a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter over medium
heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and
simmer until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth, 2
minutes. Add the melon, whiskey and lemon juice. Simmer
until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1
tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss until coated. Season
with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
serving (based on 6): 620 calories; 30 g fat; 18 g saturated
fat; 93 mg cholesterol; 19 g protein; 63 g carbohydrate; 9 g
sugar; 2 g fiber; 1,295 mg sodium; 258 mg calcium.
from Food Network, by Giada De Laurentiis
8 to 10 servings
seedless watermelon, rind removed and peeled and cut into
1-inch pieces, flesh reserved
tablespoons kosher salt
cup fish sauce
tablespoon granulated sugar
piece fresh ginger, peeled
Korean chili flakes
bunch scallions, sliced
Sprinkle the watermelon rind with the salt and toss to
combine. Set aside for at least 30 minutes until the
moisture has drawn out. If you want a salty-spicy
combination, drain the rind and pat dry with paper towels.
If you want just spicy, rinse the rind before patting dry
with paper towels.
1 cup of the watermelon flesh, fish sauce, sugar, garlic,
ginger and onion to a food processor. Pulse until combined.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Korean chili flakes. Add
the drained watermelon rind and the scallions and toss to
combine. Transfer to a jar and let it rest for at least 12
hours before serving. Refrigerate after a couple of days.
serving (based on 10): 58 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated
fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g protein; 11 g carbohydrate; 6 g
sugar; 3 g fiber; 2,286 mg (if unrinsed) sodium; 24 mg
from Food Network Kitchens
tablespoons granulated sugar
cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into large chunks (about
sugar in a blender and blend for 10 to 15 seconds. Add
cantaloupe, milk and ice, and blend until smooth and slushy,
about 30 seconds. Serve in tall glasses.
serving: 82 calories; 3 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 8 mg
cholesterol; 3 g protein; 25 g carbohydrate; 24 g sugar; 1 g
fiber; 57 mg sodium; 106 mg calcium.
by Daniel Neman
CHICKEN BREASTS WITH HONEYDEW SALSA
cups finely diced, peeled and seeded honeydew or other melon
cup finely chopped fresh cilantro plus 1/4 cup cilantro
cup finely diced red onion
tablespoons fresh lime juice
tablespoons olive oil
teaspoons finely grated lime peel
teaspoon finely chopped seeded serrano chile
vegetable oil spray
boneless chicken breast halves with skin
Combine diced melon, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, finely diced
red onion, lime juice, olive oil, grated lime peel and
chopped serrano chile in medium bowl. Toss to blend flavors.
Season melon salsa to taste with salt and pepper.
Spray grill with nonstick vegetable oil spray; prepare
barbecue (medium heat). Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt
and pepper. Grill chicken breasts until skin is crisp and
brown and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes per
side. Slice chicken breasts and arrange on plates. Top with
melon salsa and cilantro leaves and serve.
serving: 283 calories; 15 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 82 mg
cholesterol; 30 g protein; 7 g carbohydrate; 5 g sugar; 1 g
fiber; 81 mg sodium; 23 mg calcium.
by Bon Appétit
AND WATERMELON STIR-FRY
4 to 6 servings
pound sirloin strip steak, cut into thin strips
garlic cloves, minced
teaspoons cold water
teaspoons light soy sauce
teaspoons sesame oil
tablespoons dry white wine, divided
tablespoons hot water
tablespoons hoisin sauce
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon ground black pepper
tablespoons canola oil, divided
medium-size sweet onion, halved and sliced
ounces fresh sugar snap peas
teaspoon grated fresh ginger
teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
ounces watermelon, cut into sticks (about 2 cups)
hot cooked rice
Toss together steak, garlic, cornstarch, cold water, soy
sauce, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of the wine. Let stand 30
minutes. Meanwhile, stir together hot water, hoisin and the
remaining 1 tablespoon wine.
Remove beef from marinade, discarding marinade. Sprinkle
with salt and black pepper; cook half of beef in 1 1/2
teaspoons hot canola oil in a large skillet over high heat,
without stirring, 45 seconds or until browned; turn beef,
and cook 30 seconds or until browned. Transfer to a warm
plate. Repeat with another 1 1/2 teaspoon oil and beef.
Stir-fry onion in remaining 1 tablespoon hot canola oil in
skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until tender. Add
sugar snap peas, ginger and crushed red pepper; stir-fry 2
minutes. Add beef and hoisin mixture; stir-fry 1 minute or
until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in
watermelon. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste.
Serve immediately with hot cooked rice.
serving (based on 6): 391 calories; 18 g fat; 5 g saturated
fat; 73 mg cholesterol; 24 g protein; 30 g carbohydrate; 9 g
sugar; 3 g fiber; 519 mg sodium; 63 mg calcium.
from Southern Living