It Goes Together Like Olive Oil and Melon
by Alison Charbonneau
Melons are the ultimate summer snack. For me there is nothing like spending a lazy August afternoon lounging under the warm sun, reading a good book and enjoying a refreshing slice of watermelon. My husband prefers the sweet aromatic cantaloupe, enjoying an entire half for breakfast before heading to the farm for the day. My kids? Melon is sweet and juicy (messy) what’s not to love! The one thing my husband and I do agree on when it comes to melon is that fresh is best!
Whether you prefer the vibrant red flesh of the watermelon or the tender orange flesh of the cantaloupe, melons are so much more than just a juicy slice. Melons add sweetness and texture to salads, salsas and chutneys.
Both types of melon freeze well; watermelons are great used as sweet ice cubes in drinks or pureed and frozen as popsicles, cantaloupes are great frozen and added to smoothies or blended and frozen into slushies. The melons can both be grilled, but watermelon has the added advantage of being able to pickle the rind or using it in a stir-fry.
Even though melon is super versatile and can be used in all these great ways, I must admit that I tend to stick to the plain old (delicious!) slice or if I am feeling fancy – a fruit salad. So I decided to be more adventurous with melon and challenged Dave Rudell owner of Southampton Olive Oil Company to bring me out of my fruit platter rut with some great new flavours. “Instead of just squeezing lemon juice on your fruit salad, try an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. The olive oil will coat everything and the balsamic enhances all the flavours.” Dave suggests trying the Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar and the Blood Orange Olive Oil.
Don't be intimidated, try anything. The sky's the limit!
Dave Rudell of The Southampton Olive Oil Company
Dave also created a refreshing watermelon halloumi salad and a sweet cantaloupe salsa (see recipes below) and gave me some helpful tips on using olive oils and vinegars with melons. He suggested that when dealing with watermelon, because of its high water content, try salting the watermelon first and letting those juices drain off before adding the dressing. To ensure that the olive oil and vinegar gets combined well shake hard or blend it and make sure you “eat now, don’t let it sit” as the melon will start to break down especially if it is heavy on vinegar. I asked Dave what the best ratio of olive oil to vinegar was. “50/50 is the best, you could go 60/40 (olive oil to vinegar) for salads or 40/60 for a marinade.” Finally I asked him to give me some good olive oil and vinegar flavour pairings to try with the melon, “don’t be intimidated try anything! The sky is the limit!” So I guess I’ll have to experiment with the 25 olive oils and 37 vinegars that the Southampton Olive Oil Company has available.
Hi-Berry Farm has lots of melon for you to enjoy!
Watermelon Halloumi Salad
- 1 clove garlic mashed and minced
- ½ cup sweet onion, thinly sliced and quartered
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 to 9 oz. cherry tomatoes (approximately 1 container)
- 8 to 9 oz. Halloumi cheese (1 package) cut crosswise into 8 slices
- 2 cups watermelon, rind removed and cut into ¾” cubes (let drain)
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 4 Tbsp. SOOC Essential Basil Olive Oil
- 4 Tbsp. SOOC Thai Lemongrass Mint White Balsamic Vinegar (divided)
- Ahead of time, place onion in a container, add 2 Tbsp. of SOOC Thai Lemongrass Mint White Balsamic Vinegar, mix to coat and set aside.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of SOOC Essential Basil Olive Oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over med-high heat. When oil is shimmering, put in Halloumi cheese slices, add some ground pepper, brown cheese on both sides (about 1 minute per side), remove and set aside on paper towel.
- Add another 1 Tbsp. of oil, when shimmering add the cherry tomatoes, sauté until they start to deform and char. Add the garlic towards the end. Let it all cool.
- Cut Halloumi slices into ½” cubes. Put the remaining SOOC oil and SOOC balsamic vinegar in a jar with the chopped basil, sea salt and pepper, screw on lid and shake HARD to emulsify (or whisk in bowl).
- Assemble all other ingredients in a salad bowl, pour the dressing over, toss gently and serve.
(Good with Whitefish, Chicken, Pork or as a chip dip)
- ¾ cup cantaloupe, chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced then quartered
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. SOOC Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp. SOOC Key Lime White Balsamic Vinegar, divided
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice from 1 lime, slice remaining lime into wedges to serve with meal
- 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced (or 1 Tbsp Sinai Gourmet Jalapeno Hot Pepper Coulis)
- Slice red onion ahead of time (at least 2 hours) mix to coat with 1 Tbsp. of SOOC Key Lime White Balsamic Vinegar, stir occasionally.
- Combine 2 Tbsp. SOOC Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, remaining balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp. of lime juice and jalapeno in lidded jar and shake HARD to emulsify.
- Combine all ingredients and stir to coat. Let sit at least ½ hour to blend flavours. It is more flavourful the longer you wait.
- Top your favourite protein with salsa or use as a chip dip. Salsa keeps well for 2 to 3 days covered in fridge.
White Balsamic Sparkling Shrub
- 2 cups your choice white balsamic
- 1 cup fruit, herb, berry, melon or vegetable of choice
- 8 cups chilled seltzer water or sparkling water (without sodium added)
- In one liter mason jar or container add the fresh botanical ingredients.
- Pour the balsamic over the fruit and allow to infuse for at least one hour (up to 4 hours) under refrigeration. The longer it sits, the more flavour of fruit infusion.
- Strain and keep refrigerated and tightly covered for up to one month.
- To serve, add 1-2 Tbsp of infused drinking vinegar (shrub) depending on your preference for sweetness to 8 oz. of chilled sparking water. Serve over ice.
Produced by howwedolocal.com
Photography by Jill Schildroth Photography
Recipes provided by Dave Rudell