It’s finally the season for summer barbecues! I made this easy peasy melon and mint salad for a friends barbecue this weekend and couldn't wait to share with you all. It was such a hit, perfect for hydrating while hanging out by the pool. It’s a rarity when a fruit salad is the one dish at a cookout that gets completely destroyed!
Normally, I’m not a big fruit lover. Other than the occasional apple and peanut butter snack or smoothie for breakfast when it’s hot out. And of course, not gotta turn down a dessert made with fruit. But a few years ago when we were on vacation in Turkey, the place we stayed served a big platter of fresh fruit every night for dessert. At first I was like, "Wut. Where's the chocolate?" But once had I had a bite of crisp, juicy sweet watermelon, I understood the difference between perfectly ripe seasonal fruit, and what you normally get in the grocery store. Now I’m just a fruit snob!
How to Pick Ripe Melon
That’s really the trick to this salad - making sure your melon is perfectly ripe and juicy. Living in the south, there's no shortage of pickup trucks on the side of the road selling fresh, juicy melons in the summer, and those are almost always perfect. I pass at least two on my way to work - and I live and work downtown!
For cantaloupes, look for a melon that has a sweet smell, feels heavy, and skin that yields slightly when you press into it. Watermelon should have a pale yellow or green spot on it where it’s ripened on the ground. Also, it goes without saying, but it should not be winter.
To turn this recipe into a meal, add cucumber, avocado and top with grilled shrimp
Melon and Mint Salad
1 medium cantaloupe
1 medium watermelon
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon honey
1-2 pinches cayenne
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios, for garnish
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
Cut melons in half. Using a melon baller, scoop flesh into balls and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Toss melon with mint and cilantro.
In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey and cayenne. Drizzle over melon and toss to coat.
Garnish with coconut and pistachios and serve.