SWEET, low in calories, thirst-quenching, and full of nutrients, melons are at their best this time of year.
There are many varieties available other than the ubiquitous watermelon and cantaloupe, such as Canary, Santa Claus, honeydew, Crenshaw and my favourite, the relatively new, super-sweet Galia. I think the best method for choosing a good melon is to gently press around the stem end, if it yields easily to pressure then the melon is ripe. It should also smell fragrantly "melony," if it doesn't then it's likely to be tasteless.
Watermelon Towers with Balsamic Dressing
This is an unusual combination that makes a pretty and delicious appetizer.
2 cups spring salad mix
18 half-inch thick slices of seedless watermelon
2 logs of fresh goat cheese, sliced into 18 thin rounds (use dental floss to slice it) Good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste Freshly ground black pepper
Place a small handful of salad greens on each of six serving plates. Cut a three-by-three-inch square from the centre of each watermelon slice; place one square on top of the salad greens on each plate. Top the watermelon with a slice of goat cheese; repeat the layers twice, ending with a round of goat cheese on top. Drizzle each tower with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste and top with a few grindings of black pepper. Makes six servings.
Not the classic sports car but a combo of melon, grapefruit and blueberries, this is a nice starter for a summer brunch.
1 large cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeds and rind removed, cut into
16 narrow wedges (you could use other varieties of melon)
1 large pink grapefruit
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp liquid honey
Â½ cup fresh blueberries
2 tsp slivered fresh mint leaves
Working over a bowl to catch the juice, cut off the rind and outer white membrane of the grapefruit. With a very sharp, small paring knife cut between the membrane and the pulp of each grapefruit section to release fruit into the bowl.
Once all sections have been removed, squeeze the membranes to extract all the juice. Arrange the melon slices and grapefruit sections on four serving plates.
Remove all but two tablespoons of grapefruit juice from the bowl (use the rest for drinks); add the lemon juice, honey and one teaspoon of the mint. Stir to combine, then gently stir in the blueberries. Spoon blueberry mixture over the melon and grapefruit and sprinkle each serving with the remaining mint. Makes four servings.
MELON WITH HONEYED YOGURT
One large cantaloupe, honeydew or other similar melon
1Â½ cups plain Greek-style yogurt
1 cup liquid honey ?3 Chopped pistachios to garnish
Cut the melon in half and remove seeds. Cut each half into four wedges and remove rind, then cut each wedge into cubes. Place melon cubes into six wine goblets or dessert dishes. Spoon one-quarter cup of yogurt over each serving, then drizzle honey over top and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Makes six servings.
2 cups cubed chilled ripe Galia melon (I prefer Galia melon for smoothies because it's softer and easier to blend than other varieties)
1 ripe banana, peeled and cut into pieces
Â½ cup orange juice
1 cup vanilla yogurt 6 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until completely smooth; pour into four glasses. Makes four servings.
Angela Shellard is a self-described foodie. She has done informal catering for sports and business functions and enjoys cooking for family and friends. Contact: ashellard@ hotmail.ca.
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