Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Melon Cucumber Salad with Feta and a Lime Honey Mint Vinaigrette

Who  Knew???

  • They aren’t really “cantaloupe”. The melon that’s most widely recognized as cantaloupe in the U.S. is actually a “reticulated muskmelon.” This North American muskmelon is distinguished by its netted skin and strong scent. Its European counterpart– the true cantaloupe– has ribbed pale green skin and looks very different from our cantaloupe. 
  • Cantaloupe derives its name from the town of Cantalupo, Italy, where cantaloupe seeds arrived from Armenia and were planted in the Papal Gardens in the 16th century.
  • It has plenty of relatives! Cantaloupe are members of a vine-crop family known as Cucurbitaceae, which includes other melons, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and gourds.
  • Its past is mysterious. No one seems able to pin-point exactly where cantaloupe first showed up. Some historians trace the origins of the muskmelon to Biblical times in Egypt and Greece. Others point to Persia.We can thank Christopher Columbus for bringing along some muskmelon seeds on his voyage to the Americas, spreading cantaloupe cultivation to our side of the pond.
  • Low-calorie goodness! An average-sized cantaloupe contains just 100 calories. Who knew something so sweet could be good for you?
  • Cantaloupe tell you when they’re ripe. The vine will naturally slip from the fruit when it’s harvest time. 
  • Cantaloupe are the most popular melon in the United States!
  • Full of nutrients. Cantaloupe is packed with Vitamin A and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin. That means protection against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.

Melon Cucumber Salad with Feta and a Lime Honey Mint Vinaigrette
Cook's Notes: A refreshing flavorful side that pairs well with seafood and a glass of white wine. Recipes inspiration comes from Real Simple Magazine July 2018 and serves two to four.
Salad Ingredients:
  • 4 cups cubed  cantaloupe
  • 1 English large cucumber, sliced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • Feta Mediterranean Crumbles 
  • Fine sea salt
  • Optional toppings: Sunflower seeds, toasted pecans 
  • Snipped pieces of fresh mint

Lime Honey Mint Vinaigrette 
  • 2 TB. each good quality white balsamic and lime juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lime zest
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1-2 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • Place cucumber slices on a double lined paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt, roll up and refrigerate 30 minutes. 
  • Make dressing in a blender and pour into a covered jar with a screw top. Set aside. 
  • In a bowl mix cantaloupe cubes with cucumbers, red onions and mint. 
  • Place fruit mixture on a serving platter or individually plate. Top with feta crumbles and nuts if using. 
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over the top.   

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