My, how summer is flying by. It’s only August, but the tulip poplar in my yard has been shedding its big, dry leaves since mid-July, so every cool morning carries a hint of fall.
How can we prolong summer, you may be wondering? By not rushing the last month of summer away! Be slow to buy apples, avoid cinnamon-scented candles, and by no means, drink a pumpkin-spiced coffee. Continue to seek out the summer produce, and summer it will continue to be.
Which brings me to this week’s highlighted summer fruit: melons. I’m thinking cantaloupe and honeydew here, not watermelon, because I’ve had my share of watermelon recipes already for the summer. Besides, I think we see fewer recipes out there for the other melons, so I wanted to give you some new things to try.
First up, a recipe that is basically using the melon as an edible decoration, which I kind of hate to do, but the rest of the recipe sounded interesting and easy so I still wanted to choose it. Have you ever made eggs in a hole, where you cook an egg inside a piece of bread that’s getting toasted at the same time? Well this is kind of the same thing, except you’re using bagels instead of bread, a slice of prosciutto to prevent the egg from escaping its hole, and baking it in the oven instead of on a frying pan. The melon balls are the decorative add-on, but there are a ton of recipes out there that combine prosciutto with cantaloupe, so there’s a logical reason for using the melon as the garnish. You can make a bunch of these at a time, making it a great brunch recipe or dish to serve guests.
Next up, maybe for lunch, this recipe for a “spicyish” melon salad. The author recommends using arugula as a base, which is a spicy/bitter lettuce, but I’m kind of over arugula so I would just use spring mix. The cilantro in the recipe will still give it some bite, as well as the Aleppo pepper used to dress the salad. Avocado, mini tomatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe will give the salad beautiful color as well as some nice acidity and even a little creaminess from the avocado.
Then, on the lighter side, two fruity/boozy uses for melons. I found this recipe for “mojito” fruit kabobs, called so because you soak the melons in rum and lemon lime soda with some mint. Once they soak up some of the liquid, you can put them on skewers for a light and refreshing snack. Just be sure to label them accordingly so kids don’t accidentally dig into them.
The same goes for these melon basil mule popsicles. A mule is a drink with limeade and ginger beer (note that ginger beer is different than ginger ale, because while it is still just a soda, it has a much stronger flavor than ginger ale). My favorite mules have vodka, but this recipe calls for tequila. You take those three liquids, add the cantaloupe and a few mint leaves and mix it up in the blender, then add a little simple syrup as necessary to achieve your desired sweetness. Pour it into six popsicle molds and let them freeze for about six hours and you’ll end up with a delicious treat.
I hope these recipes help you to continue on with your summer vibe. Enjoy!
Egg in a hole with melon
3 bagels, sliced in half
¼ cup mayo
4 ounces prosciutto
6 medium eggs
½ cup cantaloupe or honeydew, scooped into balls
1 sprig basil, leaves finely torn
¼ teaspoon pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Using a circle cookie cutter or cup, cut the center out of the bagels so there is a 2-inch hole.
Spread a thick layer of mayo on the cut side of the bagels, then place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Press the bagels down so that the mayo forms a seal between pan and bagels.
Place a slice of prosciutto around the inside perimeter of the bagel hole, then crack an egg in each hole. Season with fresh ground pepper.
Place the bagels in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, for a medium yolk. For a soft yolk, cook for 8 minutes and for a firm yolk, cook for 12 minutes.
To serve, place a spoonful of melon on top of the eggs then sprinkle with basil.
Spicyish melon salad
For the salad:
2 cups arugula or mixed greens if you prefer, packed
1 avocado, sliced or diced
1 cup cherry or mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced
2 cups watermelon, diced
2 cups cantaloupe, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
¼ cup cilantro, roughly torn
¼ cup mint, roughly torn
To dress the salad:
Olive oil, for drizzling
½ lemon or lime, juiced
Flakey sea salt
½ to 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
Assemble all of the salad ingredients on a large serving platter or bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil (no more than a tablespoon — you don't want to overly dress the salad). Squeeze the lemon or lime over the salad to incorporate the citrus juice. Top with a pinch of flakey sea salt, such as Maldon, and Aleppo pepper.
This salad is best enjoyed immediately, but can hold up in the fridge for about an hour.
Mojito fruit kabobs
2 to 3 cups cantaloupe or honeydew balls, or a combination of both
2 to 3 cups watermelon balls
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
6 ounces light rum
6 ounces lemon lime soda
Add the melon balls and to a big container with a lid and add in the rum. Add some lemon lime soda for some fizz. The liquid will probably not completely cover the fruit, but that’s OK. Give it a shake every 5-10 minutes while the fruit marinates, for a total of 30 minutes.
Put the melon on skewers and serve, feel free to collect the juices at the bottom of the container for a cocktail.
Melon basil mule popsicles
1 pound cantaloupe
5-7 mint leaves
6 ounces Tequila Reposado
4 ounces limeade
4 ounces up ginger beer
2 ounces simple syrup (less if the melon is perfectly ripe and sweet)
Add cantaloupe, mint leaves, Tequila and limeade into a blender and process until smooth. Add the ginger beer and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of simple syrup at a time to sweeten the mixture, if needed.
Pour mixture into wells of the popsicle mold. Place a sheet of foil on top and using your finger trace the edge of each well. Use a small knife and cut a small hole in the center of each well. Insert popsicle stick and transfer popsicle mold to the freezer. Freeze until set, about 4 to 6 hours. Time will vary according to freezer setting and how full your freezer is.