Savoring cool, silky sweet pieces of cold melon is a delicious way to melt away summer's heat. The chefs at The Culinary Institute of America suggest you explore the assortment of delicious varieties available at your local farmers' markets and recommend you add melon into more than fruit salad this year. Freshen up green salads married with savory and acidic ingredients by adding chunks of melon. Purée melon into a refreshing cold soup, add to cocktails, pair with cheese, or chill into a refreshing sorbet.
Melons are divided into two main categories—muskmelon and watermelon. Under these two headings, a surprisingly varied array of types, colors, flavors, and levels of sweetness can be found. Muskmelons can have netted veins covering their rind as found on the cantaloupe, or smooth waxy rinds like the honeydew. Muskmelon varieties can have orange, green, golden, or pale yellow to white flesh with all their seeds held in a stringy wet mass located in the center of each melon. Watermelons come in a variety of sizes with the typical red or bright yellow flesh and with or without seeds.
"When selecting a melon, look for one with the appropriate color that is heavy for its size and that has a 'full slip' at the stem end," says CIA's Farm Liaison/Produce Buyer Paul Wigsten. "The latter indicates that the melon was fully ripe and fell easily from its stem end. Melons with a jagged piece of stem still attached or a flat cut at the stem should be avoided as they were prematurely harvested."
Perfect for a hot summer evening, the following Summer Melon Salad with Prosciutto is sure to please your guests. Pair it with a sliced French baguette and chilled Riesling or Gewürztraminer wine for a refreshing and relaxing end of the day.
These and more recipes are explained and illustrated in The Culinary Institute of America'sGuide to Produce Identification, Fabrication and Utilization.
Nutrition analysis with tomato per 5.5-ounce serving: 150 calories, 9g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 9g fat, 770mg sodium, 20mg cholesterol, 1g fiber.