I made this quick melon salad with the frog prince of melons - the piel de sapo. It has creamy, sweet, pale green flesh, and a blotched, pebbled green-yellow appearance. Piel de sapo means toad's skin. I bought mine heavy, with streaks of yellow edging out the green on one side - both indicators of ripeness.
If you come across one of these hefty summer gems, spring for it. I wasn't sorry. Combined with some toasted almonds for crunch, serrano chiles and scallions to counter the sweet, small dollops of crème fraîche, cilantro, and a wash of sake, it's a summer refresher. Particularly if you take the time to chill the melon all the way down just before serving.
I should also mention, you can make the salad even if you can't source this particular melon - sweet honeydew or cantaloupe would both be A+ substitutions.
Summer Melon Salad
- 1 honeydew, cantaloupe, piel de sapo, or other musk melon
- 1/2 cup finely sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 serrano chile, minced
- a handful fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/3 cup loosely chopped, toasted almonds
- generous pinch of salt
- to serve (opt): dollops of salted creme fraiche, sprigs of basil leaves and flowers
Cut the melon in half and use a spoon to remove seeds. Use a mellon baller to scoop out balls of melon flesh. Alternately, cut the melon into wedges, peel, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
Gently toss the scallions, sake, chile, cilantro, almonds, and salt. Refrigerate, and let stand for 15 minutes, or, cover and chill for up to a few hours. Just before serving dollop with a bit of salted creme fraiche, and basil leaves.