spicy cantaloupe salad

cantaloupe salad

summer has settled like
a treasured blanket over the city,
thick & sticky:
one moment the perfect combination of hot & bright
in instances suffocating but unwilling to shed
i love these days,
equal parts languid and invigorating

a few weeks ago dw planted a
tiny herb garden
on our roof,
under the massive loft window,
an urban garden that very much reminds
me of my gparents’ garden
only difference being that dw is the one who
tenderly feeds these plants
while i yell up from the bottom spiral stairs
inquiring about the general health
of the rosemary and basil and mint

in the ensuing days and weeks of
june & july i’ve wracked my brain for dishes
that could make use of these herbs
dishes that prior to the garden i seemed to make often
but never had enough fresh herbs for
and now that we have it in abundance,
i draw a blank on uses for them
it happens like that,
you know?

at the market recently i chatted with the
farmer’s daughter,
a girl who could eyeball the exact weight
of fresh produce,
and together we lamented over
how fleeting pea season was this year
sensing my possible weepiness
she thrust a cantaloupe under my nose
i don’t know about you but the aroma of
a ripe cantaloupe kinda reminds me of
rotting garbage sometimes
tell me i’m not the only one?

cantaloupe salad

spicy cantaloupe salad
adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper & Sally Swift
i made this salad before, using a gava melon. both times were a delight, albeit a surprise for dw who was skeptical.

serves 4, or 2 really hungry people over a span of 2 days

1 good sized cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chiffonaded fresh basil leaves
1 red chili, diced
3 TBL fresh lime juice
1 tsp fish sauce (i use Red Boat)
hearty pinch of sugar

in a bowl gently mix everything together. it’s all about taste, you may want it more sour or sweet or salty.

you can prep the fruit in advance and add the flavorings just before serving, or you can mix it all together and allow it to mingle for a few hours before consuming. either way, it’s delicious.

for 4 servings: calories: 45 | total fat: 2.7g | cholesterol: 7.2 mg | sodium: 287.5 mg | total carbs: 1.4 g | protein: 3.9 | sugars: 17.5g | dietary fiber: 2.1g

another salad take: crunchy celery salad

stir it up did a review of the recipe here.

cooking weekends did a take on this recipe here, using cilantro in lieu of basil.

30 thoughts on “spicy cantaloupe salad

  1. I’m not normally a fan of cantaloupe, but I’m thinking the spice in here might be just the thing to convert me! That chili/lime/fish sauce combo is one of my favourites…

    1. it’s surprising how lovely all the flavors are together… i’m pretty sure fish sauce can save any savory dish..

  2. Freaking awesome, I WANT THIS SALAD. Nuoc cham makes everything better! Though I never would have thought of putting it on melon…. brilliant. I agree about that weird smell cantaloupe has. It’s a little gross. I love the insides though!

    1. the smell of a cantaloupe melon is so rotten, but not in a durian kind of way. it’s hard to explain.
      i am so glad you’re someone else i know who loves fish sauce, the stuff saves lives!

  3. yes! cantaloupe does have a rather peculiar smell on occasion.

    i’d have never thought to do something so savory with cantaloupe but it looks delish!

    1. dw had a similar hesitation but he was all for trying it and ended up enjoying it quite a bit!

    1. the combination of something so sweet like cantaloupe with something spicy is rather perfect!

  4. This looks awesome. I am a total melon-hater, but recently started to love watermelon/feta/mint salad, and so I’d be keen to give this salad a try to see if it could make canteloupe not taste like garbage to me…which I totally get, by the way.

    Just started following your blog thanks to a shout-out from Movita, and already I look forward to seeing your latest posts in my feed…they’re the perfect pause in my day. Those are the best.

    1. hello jessie, and welcome! thank you so much for your kind words.

      i adore the watermelon+mint+feta combo, have you ever grilled watermelon before? definitely give it a try if not, it takes the profile to a whole new level. i hope you do try this recipe with cantaloupe, the adore the stuff, i just do not like the smell sometimes!

  5. Hey lan, I never thought of it smelling like rotting garbage before..! Anyway, its similar to rock melon right? Cool that you added chilli to it – seems so much more interesting this way!

    1. i think saying it smells like rotten garbage is kinda harsh and misleading, it’s just such a peculiar smell!
      i just looked up rockmelon and apparently it’s another name for cataloupe! so yes, it’s the same.

  6. I made this salad tonight for dinner – with reservations (fish sauce with cantelope???). I’m sold! It was SO good! The chile I used was HOT, but other than that everyone LOVED it! Thanks for a fabulous recipe to add to my stash! 😀

    1. hello sarah, thank you so much for letting me know tried the recipe and that you liked it! fruit + fish sauce is not so weird of a concept for me, but for dw, it was an adjustment. it just WORKS! i am so happy that everyone loved it as well.

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