In the Kitchen with Sigonas featuring Melons
For the rest of this summer, we’ll be spoiled for choice of some unbelievably sweet, juicy and refreshing fruit. They are so versatile they can play a role in any part of the meal from breakfast, to salad, soup, dinner and dessert. Melons are the perfect antidote for high temperatures, as they keep the body hydrated, and these low glycemic melon recipes are a great way to remain cool as they require almost no work at all. They are easy, fast, and don’t require any time by the stove.
Melone con Prosciutto, Aceto Balsamico e Menta
Translated, Melone con Aceto Balsamico e Menta means Melon with Prosciutto, Balsamic Vinegar and Mint – it’s a traditional Sicilian treat, and to give it a little more substance and flair, we’ve added prosciutto, making this a satisfying and unique appetizer as part of a cured meat and antipasta platter or as a first course.
- 2 TBL Sigona’s Traditional 12-year aged Balsamic
- 2 TBL minced fresh mint leaves + 2 whole mint sprigs, for garnish
- 12 bite-sized cubes or balls of melon of seeded and peeled melons, your choice (we recommend 2 different varieties for flavor & color, such as an orange flesh or a Crenshaw)
- 6 thin slices prosciutto, cut in half, lengthwise
- 6-12 slices pieces of fresh Cantare mozzarella (such as the Ciliegine)
Directions: In a small bowl stir together the balsamic, minced mint and sugar or agave, dissolving the sugar as best as possible. Let the mix sit for 25 minutes.
Arrange the melon, prosciutto and mozzarella on a serving platter, either in rows or in a big circle, alternating ingredients. OR skewer them together and plate. Drizzle with the balsamic mix and garnish with mint sprigs. Serves ~6.
Sweet Melon Soup
This soup is served chilled. It is easy to throw together and makes for a light elegant appetizer. You can also serve it with a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich for lunch. Adapted from Real Simple Magazine.
- 1 Cantaloupe-like melon (such as a Tuscan or a Charentais melon)
- 1 Sharlyn melon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Small pinch salt
- A few sprigs fresh mint leaves
Directions: Halve and seed the melons. Scoop out the flesh and puree it in a blender with the salt and ginger. Puree until smooth. Top with fresh mint leaves.
Melon with Port
Another classical combination dating as far back as the Renaissance. This can be served either as an appetizer or as dessert.
- Charentais or other orange flesh melon, halved and seeded
Directions: Fill the seed cavity with port, let macerate for 20 minutes or more. Scoop right from the melon to eat or reserve the port, halve or quarter the melon half and plate. Then drizzle a bit of the reserved port on each slice and serve.
Shrimp, Melon and Wild Arugula Salad with a Simple Lemon & Oil Dressing
The peppery arugula pairs well with the sweet melon and delicate shrimp. Wild arugula packs even more of a punch, so use what your taste buds desire. If you can’t find wild, regular or baby will be just as good. Recipe adapted from How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons. Serves 6.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 TBL sherry vinegar
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced shallots
- 1 lb. shell-on medium shrimp
- 1/2 a (5 lb.) medium orange flesh honey dew or Tuscan melon
- 1/4 lb. wild arugula (see note)
- 2 TBL fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil
Directions: In a saucepan over high heat, bring the water, wine, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes and shallots to a light boil. When boiling, add the shrimp. As soon as it begins to boil again, cover it tightly and turn off the heat. When the pan is cool enough, put it in the fridge.
When you’re ready to serve the salad, peel the shrimp, reserving the cooking liquid. Halve the melon, remove the seeds and slice half the melon so it’s easily diced into 1-inch cubes. (Save the rest for breakfast!)
Strain the shrimp cooking liquid. Place 2 TBL of it in a small, lidded jar and discard the rest. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and shake well to make a smooth, thick dressing. Taste for salt & lemon juice.
Put the melon in a bowl and add enough dressing to coat lightly (1 to 2 TBL). Toss gently, remove and arrange a single layer on a serving platter. Add the arugula to the bowl and add enough dressing to coat lightly (1 to 2 TBL). Toss and arrange on top of the melon. Repeat with the shrimp and arrange on top of the arugula. Serve immediately.
Russ Parsons of How to Pick a Peach says a Muscat-based wine, such as Moscato, works well here as the white port for this parfait. Serves 6. Prep and freeze time: 3 hours. Total time: about 3 hrs., 30 mins.
- 1 medium (4-5 lb.) melon, such as a Sharlyn or Crenshaw
- 3-4 TBL sugar or 2 TBL Agave nectar
- 1 pint blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries or raspberries, your choice
- 2 TBL white port
Directions: Cut melon in half and remove the seeds. Scoop out chunks of the flesh and place in a food processor. You’ll get about 1 ½ lbs of melon chunks.
Puree the melon and stir in 2 TBL sugar (or 1 TBL agave). Taste and add more if needed, but note that too much sugar will mask the melon’s delicate, floral flavor, however, because chilling reduces the flavor, the mixture should be very sweet.
Pour puree into a large, shallow metal pan that will hold a depth of 3/4 to 1 inch. Freeze for 30 minutes. Remove pan from freezer and stir puree with a fork, breaking up large chunks of ice. Repeat 4-5 times over 2-3 hours. Each time the ice will be a little less liquid and will stick together more. When firm enough to hold its shape, it is done.
Try not to let the melon ice freeze solid. If it does, chop it into small pieces in the pan and grind it in the food processor. However, the result will be lighter and fluffier, and the flavor will not be as dense and luscious.
Stir together the berries, 1 TBL sugar (1/2 TBL agave) and the port. Spoon the ice into six glasses (martini glasses or short wine glasses) and spoon some of the berries with their juice over the top. Serve.
Balsamic-drizzled Heirloom Melon
Serve this up any way you like…sliced, cubed or even scooped into melon balls. If you want to get the kids involved, ask them to scoop out the seeds.
- 1 Crane melon or other orange flesh melon
- ½ c. mint leaves, slivered
- 1 ½ TBL Balsamic (e.g. Sigona’s Vanilla Bean Balsamic)
Directions: Halve melon, remove seeds. Slice, dice or scoop into pieces as desired and place in 4+ bowls. Sprinkle each dish with mint. Stir to mix. Drizzle 1-2 tsp. balsamic on top.
Cured Sea Trout and Crab Salad with Artichokes, Haogen Melon, Preserved Lemon and Pea Sprouts
Feeling ambitions? Give this recipe a try, from the UK’s Yorkshire Post. The author notes that the Haogen (a.k.a. Ogen) is used for its slightly spicy notes and rounded melon flavors, which go well with all kinds of seafood, especially crab.
This recipe, by Frances Atkins of the Michelin Starred restaurant The Yorke Arms, for cured sea trout, crab, melon, artichoke, preserved lemon and pea sprouts. Here’s a delicious recipe which once assembled offers a superb combination of textures and flavors.
You can find pre-cured trout in some specialty seafood shops. If not, prepare your own using the recipe below:
Ingredients for the cured sea trout:
- 1 fillet sea trout
- 35g (2 1/4 TBL) salt
- 20g (1 1/4 TBL) sugar
- ½ shallot finely chopped
- 1 lemon zest
- 20g (1 1/4 TBL) dill
- 1 crushed juniper berry
- 4 crushed white pepper corns
Ingredients for the topping mixture:
- Desert spoon (2 tsp) of English mustard
- 1/2 tsp of sugar
- TBL of chopped dill
Method: Pin, bone and score fish. Mix the cured sea trout ingredients together and rub into the fish. Wrap tightly in cling film and press. Leave overnight, turn the next day and on day three, rinse off lightly. Dry the fish well and spread topping mixture thinly over flesh side and pack on the chopped dill. Wrap in cling film until ready to slice.
For the crab:
Take 200g (7 oz) per portion of cooked white crab meat and mix with mayonnaise, chopped chives, grated nutmeg, lemon zest to taste.
For the Artichoke and Melon:
Take 1 cooked globe artichoke. Slice and put into vinaigrette (recipe below). Take an Ogen Melon or one of your choice, cut into large dice.
For the preserved lemon and pea sprout:
Take one lemon, boil in salted water until soft (approx 10 minutes). Cool, cut into quarters, dispense with the flesh and pith. Sprinkle a little sugar and salt, semi-dry. Cut into thin strips. Mix with a handful of pea sprouts (the curly tops of pea plants).
- 100ml (about 7 TBL) olive oil
- 50ml (about 3 1/2 TBL) white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey (try our Wild Sage Honey from Honey Hole Honey Company)
- 1 tsp mustard
- A little sugar
Salad Assembly: To assemble the salad you will need a small carton (50g or 3 1/2 TBL) of crème fraîche and a jar of mini capers. Place the thinly sliced sea trout on the base of the plate.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl with vinaigrette dressing and build. Finish with crème fraîche and capers for garnish.
For a the original recipe and a large picture of the dish, click here.