Blackberry Cantaloupe Salad
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime.com
Welcome back to #FarmersMarketWeek with the Festive Foodies blogging group. All week long I will be posting favorite recipes using the bounty of the local produce markets with my blogging friends. Thanks to Ellen Folkman of Family Around the Table for hosting.
This next recipe is very simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. And as often times is, fruit recipes are best when they are very simply prepared.
Right now, the markets near me are loaded with cantaloupe and watermelon as well as peaches and various berries. We are just two and are trying to cut the carbs here, but I will never demonize fruit. I find it unhealthy to do so.
So I will often choose the smaller of the fruits unless I have freezer space, in which case I freeze a lot of fruit to use later in smoothies or pies. And the occasional frozen margarita. Such is the case with some of the cantaloupe, because we have been getting the immense Athena melons which are the size of a small watermelon but tremendously juicy and aromatic. Blueberries I can usually finish off easily, although I have frozen those too when I got them on deep sale, such as .99 a pint. All fruit freezes fabulously, especially if it is frozen in a single layer and then packed into freezer bags. It’s important about the layer because it will freeze into one lump if you don’t. And who wants to try to break apart an ice block of cantaloupe? Not me.
I do have tips for picking out the best melons. First, they should be heavy for their size, so pick up one in each hand and go for the heavier one. Then inspect it for bruises or hollows which might indicate rotting fruit. Lastly, sniff the “belly-button” or stem end of the fruit. Whatever that smells like is probably what it will taste like. If it smells of mold or nothing at all, put it back. This is also true on the aromas for peaches and nectarines, which I will not buy if I can’t pick up the scent. Even ripening in paper bags, they end up getting too soft and mealy before they ripen up.
As for watermelon, my dad taught me as a child how to pick them out, when I asked why he tapped them with his knuckles. He would tap them and listen, and the lower the sound, the deeper the tone, meant it had more water/juice in it and had better flavor. As you tap a few, you can start honing in one which one is the better one.
Berries you can to turn the package and watch for mold. Make sure you use those asap because they just don’t last very long, a day or two at the most.
Once you have picked out nice ripe fruit, an easy way to prep the cantaloupe is by doing a “royale”. That is where you cut off a little bit from top and bottom, then use your chef’s knife to cut away the peel from top to bottom, in strips. This is also the correct way to prepare pineapple, oranges and grapefruit. With the oranges and grapefruit, you will then have a pared fruit that is quite easy to use a paring or utility knife to separate out sections of fruit with the the membrane removed, the way they look nice if you buy those commercially prepared. You can also do the same thing with a watermelon, but I don’t often see people doing the outside unless they are cutting away some of the rind to expose the white pith and red fruit when making elaborate carvings.
As for peach prep, I did want to mention that if you cut a tiny “x” on the pointed end, then drop them in boiling water to blanch, then removed with a slotted spoon and put into ice water, those skins will come right off and take the headache out of making fresh peach pie. It works for tomatoes too, but we are talking fruit (although tomatoes ARE fruit) really, traditional fruit not used for savory foods.
But on to this recipe, which as I said is very simple. I fashioned it after some of my favorite flavors of Indian desserts, such as mango custard and kheer (rice pudding) which is milky and is flavored with cardamom. In this case I have added yogurt, and brightened up the flavor overall with lime juice, basil and mint, which is an homage to places east of India, such as Vietnam and Thailand. It helps that I was collecting mint and holy basil from my garden that day. Since fresh herbs never last, I was eager to find a recipe to put them in, and this works swimmingly.
Blackberry Cantaloupe Salad
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar-free honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 cups fresh ripe cantaloupe, diced small
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh Thai holy basil
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves
- Whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, honey and cardamom.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients and serve immediately.
Fromm the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
Tuesday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes
- Blackberry Cantaloupe Salad by Palatable Pastime
- Fresh Corn Salsa by Kate’s Recipe Box
- Grilled Peach Napoleons with Easy Bavarian Cream by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Individual Peach Oatmeal Crisps by Cookaholic Wife
- Pasta with zucchini, Summer Squash, and Sausage by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Sicilian Potato Salad by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- Spicy Bok Choy by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Thai Beef Salad (Nam Tok, ‘Waterfall Beef’) by Caroline’s Cooking
- Zucchini Dip by A Day in the Life on the Farm