What? That doesn't look delicious? Salami-Melon...er...Salad? With a side of...cream cheese? Well, this is what happens when I am going out of town for a few nights and there's a whole cantaloupe in my fridge. Cantaloupe for dinner. Good thing I'm single.
I'll be honest, I am tired of eating plain cantaloupe. Even when it is ripe and farm fresh, it's still...boring. I also have bad memories associated with cantaloupe thanks to the highlight of 4th grade - when I had cantaloupe for breakfast and then "revisited it" all over the teacher's desk that morning. Sorry Ms. Anita!
Complicating things is that it's not all that hot here in sweet San Francisco. The appeal of a chilled cantaloupe soup is rather limited when you're already wearing a cashmere sweater. On the other hand, the thought of hot cantaloupe isn't all that enticing either.
I found this recipe on Food and Wine, and it sounded interesting. Kind of like prosciutto e melone's rough and tumble little mafioso brother. I was a little concerned that no one had ever reviewed it, especially since it's over 10 years old. Surely someone else has made this?
With no total strangers of questionable culinary ability to trust, I figured this would either be great or utterly inedible. But at least it wouldn't be boring.
Savory Cantaloupe Salad
by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
The black pepper and vinegar bring out the cantaloupe’s sweetness, making it a good foil for creamy fresh goat cheese. The cheese is served on slices of crusty bread alongside the melon salad.
One 3-pound ripe cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch cubes (see Notes)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 slices soppressata salami, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
6 slices country bread
1.Put the melon cubes in a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the oil and toss gently, then add the vinegar. Garnish with the soppressata and chives. Spread the cheese on the bread and serve it alongside.
My notes: I skipped the chive garnish (I'm not trying to impress strangers) and got a little french mini-baguette instead of a whole country loaf because I am cheap. It was fine. I probably should have toasted the bread slices but I was hungry and didn't feel like getting out the toaster. Next time.
Oh, and I only used half the cantaloupe, and halved the seasoning/dressing ingredients and bread and only used a fraction of the goat cheese - about an ounce - but kept the full amount of soppressata (hey, it's dinner).
So how was this experiment?
It's safe to say I'll make this again. Tomorrow. For lunch. Glad I picked up a little extra soppressata at the deli!
If you do try this at home, make sure your cantaloupe is really sweet and ripe. This would be terrible with under-ripe cantaloupe. How do you tell the difference? If it's super crunchy and pale and looks/tastes like it came off the "fruit platter" at your last breakfast meeting, it won't work here.