Grilled Fruit 2 - Melon
Melon - Great on the Grill
All types are suited for the grill, perfect for the grill: Honeydew, Crenshaw, Casaba -- you name it. Even watermelon, four thousand years old, first cultivated in Africa, now grown throughout the world. Melon is firm of flesh, so it is easy to deal with: using tongs to pick the pieces up and plop them on the preheated grill; then just use those tongs again to turn them over to complete the process.
Here we are going to grill a Cantabella, a small cantaloupe some would say a cute little cantaloupe. The taste is basically the same as the larger cantaloupes, perhaps a little richer. The size makes it ideal for what we are planning here.
Half of this will make a terrific lunch when grilled and combined with secret ingredients -- actually just stay tuned to the end of this discussion (though in fact, for those keen of observation the ingredients are revealed in the following photo).
And there's more at the bottom here! -- another type of melon, just as good!
Just page down and see.
Cut in half. The way we always begin when confronted with such a delicious opportunity. On this particular occasion, however, we are going to veer off on a special and exciting trail through the culinary rainforest.
The skin can be cut off at this point; some people will prefer to do that.
I suggest leaving it on during the grilling. It makes the slices slightly easier to handle. Also the cutting off of the skin.
Actually, let hungry consumers deal with the skin -- they have an incentive to do so!
On the grill
It doesn't take long, not on a preheated grill. We always preheat our grill here, do we not?
Two minutes for the first side, a minute and a half for the second. Could not be more simple: firing up the grill and preheating takes about the same small amount of time.
A little longer if you want the slices to be really soft.
Remove and enhance
That's a slice of feta cheese encircled by our grilled Cantabella, surrounded and outnumbered four to one.
A delicious start. We could dig in right now.
But wait! -- There's more.
Sopressata is good
Soppressata is the best Italian salami, and it comes in many different subspecies.
This is a standard one, thinner and bigger than many. It will do. You could lay it on the grill after turning the grill off, just to warm the soppressata up a bit. If you have a very dense soppressata, this heating would soften it a bit and make it easier to eat with the cheese and melon.
The taste is terrific. This is true fusion. Melons originated in Asia (and Africa), feta is characteristically Greek (though the Danes make a great one also), and soppressata is -- well, soppressata is Italian; we all knew that.
Another virtuous addition here, in place of the soppressata or maybe in addition to it, is prosciutto. Prosciutto is traditionally used with figs (click here), of course, but goes equally well with a melon like -- or with the one right below.
But wait there's more!
There's something about the smoothness of this melon that is specially appealing: almost like and advertisement "Delcious to the taste."
The flesh of this melon is a bit lighter in color than the flesh of the cantabella, and that makes the grill marks stand out a bit more.
We mentioned prosciutto above as a possible alternative, now is the time to bring it to center stage and let it do its thing.
Prosciutto -- its wonderful light, salty flavor complements the subtler Casaba melon perfectly.
.And Piave, a hard cheese that tastes somewhat like Parmesan. It adds bite. Cheese and melon, especially a hard cheese like this, just belong together. Maybe not for breakfast, though many will like that idea also, but for lunch and for dinner -- now you are talking!
Dribble some EVOO (click here) over the top after assembling all the ingredients on the plate.
Grilled Casaba, Piave, Prosciutto
Same - but saladized
Another saladized, with Capicola + Piave cheese, EVOO, and balsamico
As the Roman Empire waned, the melon waxed.
Though it seems that perhaps a thousand years before melons had been brought to places like the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean. "Melons were among the earliest plants to be domesticated in both the Old and New Worlds." Fast forward a couple of thousand years and Honeydew and Casaba were on board when the first Europeans settled in this place called the New World. Remarkably, the natives were friendly to melons also, taking pride even today in cultivars originally brought by those early Spanish settlers. If that doesn't demonstrate the power of the taste of the melon, I don't know what does.
As you would expect, a fruit this much loved has been tweaked over the centuries into many distinct and wonderful cultivars. Some (just a few) examples: winter melon, Korean melon, sugar melon, European cantaloupe, Persian melon,Horned melon, Canary melon, Hami melon (China), Sprite melon (Japan), Santa Claus melon (yes!), Tiger melon, Sharlyn melon, bitter melon.
Part of a series
Pictures, pictures, pictures
Series within series, actually. Food & Cooking, for example, then -- within that -- series on vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, etc. Books, too. Ideas, too. Travel, too. Click on "featured lenses" at the top of the right-hand column, under my profile, for the complete list. Key virtues:. pictures, clear step-by-step text. Delicious -- whether foods or ideas! All the items in this series are to be found, together with their links, at Lee White's Department Store.
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.