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#1051 - Seven Things To Do With Melon
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August 14,2012 #1051 Seven Things To Do With Melon
It being mid-summer, we are in the heart of melon season. As of last check, we have watermelons of all kinds, cantaloupes, honeydews, Juan Canaries and Charentais available. And don't be surprised if you see a few varieties you don't recognize: Maryland farmers love to experiment. Most of us are perfectly content to stick a melon in the fridge and cut off a nice cold slice...but there are a few other things you can do with a melon. Here are some ideas:
1. Melon and meat: wrap up a crescent of cantaloupe or honeydew with a slice of prosciutto (of course), but you can also try pancetta and bacon.
2. Grilled melon, particularly watermelon "steak," the seedless, firm heart of the melon: toss it on the grill to get those great sear marks, then dress it with a sauce featuring balsamic vinegar and very thinly sliced sweet onion.
3. Melon in salsa: cut up your favorite melon and add it an improvised blend of fresh, summer produce from the market.
4. Melon soup: puree that melon, add some fresh cream, a little seasoning and a garnish of mint and you're good to go. Of course, it is best well-chilled and a day old.
5. Granite or sorbet: again you're going to puree and strain that melon, and then add it to your favorite recipes for these frozen delights.
6. Melon in curries: many Indian recipes are perfectly happy to contain melon right along side summer squash, coconut, cut-up potatoes and green beans. It's all about getting a balanced spectrum of flavors.
7. Melon curd: if you've heard of lemon curd, here is the melon version. I have used it with Greek yogurt, and thickened a little more, it was the filling for a melon meringue pie.
(Note: this recipe works best when you have really ripe, intensely-flavored melons. You may even need to let the melons over-ripen a bit, and begin to become soft. I recommend the small French Charentais melon for this recipe.)
1/2 large melon or 1 entire smaller melon, very ripe
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 tbs sweet butter
1. Use half of a large melon, or an entire smaller melon. Seed it, and slice it into crescents, then cut again, removing the rind. Cut the flesh into smaller chunks for processing.
2. Put the melon chunks, sugar, lemon juice and salt into a food processor, and puree thoroughly. Add the egg yolks and puree again for about 20 seconds.
3. Strain the puree into a glass or Pyrex bowl. Work the strainer with a wooden spoon to force as much of the puree through as you can. Discard the solids left behind.
4. You will cook the puree over a larger pan of simmering, not boiling, water. Do not let the upper bowl touch the water, or the mixture will curdle. Whisk the puree gently but steadily, scraping down the sides occasionally. After about 15 minutes, the puree will begin to thicken. (If you need to, work a little corn starch in to finish the thickening.)
5. When the puree reaches a temperature of 170 degrees, remove it from the heat. Stir in the butter thoroughly. It should have the consistency of Hollandaise Sauce. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
Serve with yogurt, ice cream, garnished with fruit, or spread it on a hot English muffin. Makes about a cup and a half.