Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hot Days - Cool Melon with Fresh Basil and Lime Juice

It's officially summer - at least "meteorologic summer"- the first day of June, and hot days are ahead. For my part, nothing is more refreshing on a sweltering day than cold Watermelon. I love Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Canary, Casaba, Sharlyn, Cranshaw, Santa Claus, and Galia melons, too. Growing up, we had seasonal melon almost every day. I can still eat melon regularly during the summer months and not get tired of it. In fact, melon with a little cottage cheese is one of my favorite summertime suppers.

I'm enjoying the plethora of fresh herbs now, too. Basil is the classic summer herb - its bright green flavor capturing the essence of the season. It's one herb that completely loses its flavor when dried, so enjoy it fresh when it's available. The combination of melon and basil with a splash of fresh lime juice is delightful. Use a variety of melons for this fruit salad - Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Honeydew are the perfect combination of color and flavor.


4 cups melon, cubes or balls
1 bunch fresh basil (about a dozen leaves), cut into strips or torn
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons mild honey
pinch non-iodized salt

Put the melon in a bowl, add the lime juice, honey and salt. Toss. Add the basil. Toss again. Chill for an hour or two if you wish. That's it. If you have some fresh mint, you can add that, too. Strange as it may sound, you may also add a 1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese and a grind or two of freshly cracked pepper (omit the salt). After all, fruit and cheese are a natural combination!

Note: Watermelon is in a different botanical family than the other melons mentioned here. It is, in fact, related to the cucumber. I'm told that gardeners are advised to plant cucumbers and watermelons far apart or they cross-pollinate, resulting in an odd hybrid.