Cantaloupe, casaba, crenshaw, canary: I adore melon, and not just the orange-fleshed ones. Squirt some fresh lime on chunks of ripe, juicy melon, and I'm in breakfast or dessert heaven. Still, I'm in a shake-it-up mood these days when it comes to old favorites in the kitchen (remember the maple cinnamon matzoh brei). So, inspired by mint coming up in my garden, I decided to try slices of melon with a lime, peanut and mint topping. You'll see fish sauce in the list of ingredients; before you turn up your nose, let me assure you the topping is not fishy. It's just pleasantly, vaguely Thai, and the balance of the tart sauce with the sweet melon will make you wish every Thai restaurant in your neighborhood had this dish on its menu.
Melon with lime, peanut and mint topping
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
10 small spearmint leaves
2 tsp fish sauce (I prefer Three Crabs brand)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus some zest for garnish
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
12 thin slices of ripe melon, any type, chilled
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the peanuts and mint leaves, and pulse 10 times to chop roughly. Then, add the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and rice vinegar. Process for 5-10 seconds, until the peanuts are more finely chopped but are not yet beginning to turn to peanut butter. There will be very little liquid in the mixture; this is a topping, not a dressing.
Arrange slices of melon on individual serving plates, and spoon on the peanut topping. Garnish with lime zest and additional mint leaves.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Thai-style spicy cabbage slaw with mint and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chicken with coconut-lime peanut sauce, from Family Fresh Cooking
Cantaloupe strawberry salad with lime syrup and mint, from Andrea Meyers
Cold noodles with peanut sauce, from David Lebovitz
Melon and mozzarella salad with honey, lime and mint, from Pinch My Salt
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