It's summertime, we have half day Fridays, a few extra hours of daylight to get our cocktails going, and things are supposed to be easy, darn it! In a conscious effort to simplify our lives and celebrate the awesomeness of fresh summer produce, we're spending the whole season coming up with the absolute easiest, freshest, and tastiest summer dishes we can think of. On the menu today: figs, melon, Spanish ham, and basil in one gorgeous salad.
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In her new cookbook, A Boat a Whale & a Walrus, chef Renee Erickson gives us this simple, impeccable gem of a recipe that I will make every and all summer forever. It involves nothing more than a ripe summer melon blended with lime juice and zest, a few mint leaves, a bit of yogurt and olive oil, salt and an inspired pinch of cayenne pepper.
The Mexican street-cart staple of juicy fruit, lime, and chili powder is transformed into a refreshing cocktail (with just a hint of spice).
Sweet ripe melon is a perfect candidate for the gazpacho treatment, yielding a coral-colored, subtly fruity chilled soup.
This mellow breakfast smoothie brings together ripe cantaloupe with a squeeze of lime and a dollop of yogurt.
The cooling flavors of the melon and coconut get a little kick from homemade chile de arbol simple syrup in this agua fresca.
According to Home Made Summer author Yvette van Boven, every children's party in Ireland served jelly and cream for dessert. The combination wasn't a favorite, but the memory of refreshingly jiggly jelly stuck. This version has a flowery, delicate flavor bubbled up with prosecco. Adding edible flowers is the final, lovely touch.
This recipe from John McCarthy of the Greenwich Project (see our First Look here) brings out the spicy side of Pimm's with a cardamom syrup. Instead of the traditional cucumber you often see with Pimm's, this drink is made with fresh honeydew juice.
The house drink at San Francisco's West of Pecos restaurant features freshly muddled cantaloupe—Pecos, Texas is known for the fruit.
Use ripe cantaloupe for this delicately-flavored margarita.
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.
Looking for a way to mix things up in the cocktail department, I paired fruity shaved ice with cool sake to create a delicious, boozy granita. I used a cantaloupe because of its sweet and musky flavor and added a little fresh ginger and lime juice to jazz it up.
As popular as it is, the classic combination of melon and Parma ham doesn't do so well as part of a cocktail spread. Depending on room temperature, the prosciutto can dry out or become limp and flabby. In Jason Denton...
My boyfriend's mother has the uncanny ability to choose flawless melons—perfectly ripe, luscious, and dripping with honey flavor. I, on the other hand, often end up with tasteless watermelons and mealy cantaloupes. My oh-so-professional method of selection? Tap lightly on...