I’ve never liked cantaloupe. The texture always seems off – either too hard and flavorless, or too soft and sickeningly sweet. Blame our conventional produce production cycle, but, frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal of this melon-colored melon. When it shows up on a restaurant fruit plate, I eat around it or force it on Dave.
But last week, our Farmhouse Delivery included a perfectly-ripe, gorgeously-hued melon, and it was luscious. Juicy. Sweet. Tender but not mushy. It was the very embodiment of the taste of summer. Suddenly, I’m a cantaloupe fan. And I was thrilled when our basket this week yielded another one ready to eat.
As I chopped it into bite-sized chunks to chill in the fridge, I remembered my experience with the smokey pear bites a few months ago, and I played a solo version of “You Know How You Could Do That?”
I gave the lazy-susan in my spice cabinet a spin to consider my options. It should come as a surprise to no one that I considered cumin, but, much as it broke my heart a little, I knew it wouldn’t be right. Another spin left me torn between coriander and cardamom, so I let my nose decide; it chose cardamom. Then the bright red of the paprika caught my eye, and I suddenly, desperately hoped it would taste as good on the cantaloupe as it looked. It did.
perfectly ripe cantaloupe, chilled in the fridge
pinch coarse sea salt
1. Cut the cantaloupe into wedges or 1-inch chunks.
2. Sprinkle with the spices – a light hand will serve you well.
3. Pop it into your mouth and let the sensations roll around your tongue: cool, sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy, tender.
NOTE: Spice just the amount of melon you want to eat immediately. Like summer itself, spiced cantaloupe is a fleeting pleasure.
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