The Recipe: A refreshing summer salad, just cantaloupe balls with lime juice, fish sauce (yeah, I know, but you have to try it to believe it) , fresh basil and a touch of jalapeño heat.
The Conversation: What's the word for August's food bounty?
The last page of the Atlantic is my first read. It's a funny little column called "Word Fugitives" that conjures clever terms for conditions failed by the current lexicon. Example: If a husband is a packrat, what might we call his opposite? Readers suggested "wouldchuck" and "hurl squirrel" and the winning entry, "heave-homemaker". Ha!
Me, my missing word would describe the food bounty that August's gardens and farmers markets deliver. It would suggest the satisfied moan that follows the first bite of fresh and simple food that just tastes so – not delicious, someplace past delicious. It conveys that there's simply no bad food right now, that everything that's fresh is wondrous, in all its combinations. What is that word, that phrase? Applications accepted here!
[That word] is needed to describe this easy cantaloupe salad that took all of ten minutes to make and was just sooo-so good. Served with grilled scallops, shrimp and fresh vegetables, it was the perfect ending to a summer meal on the patio, displacing the intended dessert sorbet.
THAI CANTALOUPE SALAD
Time-to-table: 10 minutes
- Jalapeño (see TIPS)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Pinch of sugar
- Good splash fish sauce (see TIPS)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 a large very ripe cantaloupe, peeled, cut into balls or chunks
- Fresh basil, sliced into thin ribbons
Whisk together the jalapeño, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and salt and pepper. Gently turn in the cantaloupe and basil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately or within two hours.
I used one pickled jalapeño ring, so handy to keep in the fridge. The inspiring recipe called for half a fresh jalapeño, diced.
WHAT IS FISH SAUCE? Fish sauce is the ingredient which makes this "Thai". It's a salty briny liquid that does amazing things for food, including shrimp salad and Thai Roasted Eggplant Salad. It's cheap and keeps, so once found, is worth having on hand. The inspiring recipe called for a half teaspoon, I used a good couple of tablespoons. Use your own tastebuds to guide how much is right for your melon.
After a couple of hours, the melon balls get a little mushy. But to make this ahead, just mix the sauce, then add the melon and basil a half hour or so before serving.
Other Recipes [That Word] Would Describe
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