Cucumber & Melon Salad with Mint

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[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

While tomatoes and peaches aren't worth bothering with during the cooler months, cucumbers and melons fare much better. This Cucumber & Melon Salad with Mint from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's and Sally Swift's The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends is a sweet way to ease into fall without going cold turkey on the summery produce.

It's a delicate salad that lets the cool, crispness of the cucumbers and sweet juiciness of the melon really shine through. Instead of overpowering the fruit with a harsh acid such as vinegar or lemon juice, a few tablespoons of wine does the trick here, keeping everything light and bright. To finish, the salad is topped with crumbles of young sheep cheese. If you're looking for something punchy, opt for a salty ricotta salata; if you prefer to keep this salad mild, a creamy sheep feta works like a charm.

Adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

Cucumber & Melon Salad with Mint

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a first course or side dish
Active time:10 minutes prep, 5 minutes assembly
Total time:45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe cantaloupe or watermelon, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 tightly-packed cup fresh spearmint leaves, torn
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely snipped chives or scallions (green parts only)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled young sheep cheese (Ricotta Salata, Cacio di Roma, Pecorino, or feta)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt, roll up the pieces in a double thickness of paper towel, and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Unwrap and pat dry.

  2. 2

    Rub a serving bowl with the garlic. Add the cucumbers, melon, spearmint, chives, 1 tablespoon wine, and 1 tablespoon oil. Gently combine. Add wine, oil, salt, pepper, and sugar (if using) to taste.

  3. 3

    Serve topped with spoonfuls of crumbled cheese and eat immediately. 

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