This is So Cal Summer Salads, the Fruit Version! With only four ingredients summer doesn't get more simple, and the flavor is incredibly beautiful. Oh yes, this salad just sings.
During the summer months, it is really no surprise to see various salads with melon and fruits; watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew are at their peak, and a cool, sweet slice is astonishingly satisfying on a hot summer day. I think it is natural to want to combine the light sugary taste from the melons with complementary ingredients, and the most common paring seems to be watermelon and cucumber. I can remember a salad I ate last summer where I enjoyed a cucumber and melon salad with tsatziki and it was an elegant and simple lunch. Plus, the bright red color of watermelon just makes me smile.
But I like to expand my horizons, and I am always out to change up things and try different produce. That is why I get so excited every summer for those 3 or 4 weeks when my local Henry's Farmer Market features some more "exotic" melons. Some of them have been grown right here in California, but many of them come across the border from Mexico. My favorites so far are Canary, Casaba, and Santa Claus-have any of you ever tried these varieties?
All three of these melons have more dense flesh, similar to honeydew or cantaloupe, and unlike watermelon. They also have all their seeds in a hollow in the center, so that means you have loads of fruit that you can chop into bite-sized pieces for your next summer picnic or afternoon snack. The Canary and the Casaba melon are definitely more sweet than the Santa Claus, but you should give all three varieties a try if you get the chance.
For this salad, the melon is really the star; in fact, it is primarily because the melon had a flavor that was just SO incredible that I opted to merely dress it up with some lime and mint and pair it with cucumber. When you have a fresh, high quality ingredient, I find that it is often best to let it shine and carry the dish. Since you MUST have a sweet melon to make a dish like this really taste good, hurry up and get going while melons are in season! Find one of these lovely varieties or get yourself a cantaloupe or honeydew; but whatever you find, it needs to taste so good a bite makes you close your eyes and just sigh with pure, simple pleasure.
To me this salad really has the essence of summer. If you are looking for something light, healthy, and cool as a cucumber (yes, pun intended) this salad will be your new favorite.
Melon Cucumber Salad with Lime and Mint
1 medium canary or casaba melon (cantaloupe or honeydew; any melon with dense, sweet flesh should do)
2 english cucumbers
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Juice from 3 limes
Cut the flesh of the melon away from the rind, and chop into 1 inch square pieces. Slice off the skins from the cucumbers, then cut them in half lengthwise, and chop them into roughly 1/2 inch thick slices. Toss the melon and cucumber pieces together with the mint and lime juice. Let marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or eat it immediately if you cant resist. :)