Spicy Melon Salad

This salad felt a bit like a dare. Melons, peanuts, fish sauce. It is an unusual mix of ingredients, for sure.

The recipe comes from Cooking in the Moment by Lantern’s Andrea Reusing. I’m not the first blogger to be charmed by this book. It has the sort of specificity that elicits trust, and so far it deserves the trust. The book is a collection of seasonal recipe that you simply want to make.

I like melon salads and soups and especially love melon when it approaches savory territory, which this does very beautifully. The fish sauce adds a deep saltiness that is perfect. Make it before summer slips away.

On a somewhat related note, I have no idea how to use a melon baller. Are they ever really balls? Are my expectations too high?

Spicy Melon Salad with Peanuts and Mint (recipe from Cooking in the Moment by Andrea Reusing)

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1 large fresh red Thai chile, with seeds, finely minced, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more if needed
  • 2 small ripe melons
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, torn into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons chopped salted roasted peanuts

In medium bowl, combine lime juice, chile, fish sauce and sugar with 2 tablespoons water. Stir to dissolve theĀ  sugar. Cut each melon in half and remove seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out flesh to make about 4 cups melon balls total. Add melon balls to dressing and toss. Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to several hours.

To serve, toss with mint, divide among bowls and sprinkle with peanuts.

17 comments to “Spicy Melon Salad”

  1. What a wonderful combination of flavours and colours!

  2. I just made a melon & mint salad a few weeks ago and I spent most of my post talking about MELON BALLING. My expectations were super high…and I found out through the process that there’s no such thing as a perfect melon ball. Phew. I can sleep now.

    Love the addition of fish sauce! I totally get it.

  3. HA! No such thing as perfect melon balls. I was so sad when I found this out!! It’s a flawed system. Totally flawed. This salad looks gorgeous and interesting.

  4. Your melon balls look pretty good to me! We used the technique to freeze some watermelon. My plan is to blend it into something in place of ice. I’m pretty sure it will be an alcoholic something.

  5. Sweet, spicy, salty, sour and crunchy! Love it.
    I wouldn’t worry about the perfect melon balls.

  6. goldenblind221 says:

    September 13th, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Oh man, that looks so amazing, but I loathe fish sauce. Any suggestions on alternative sauces?

  7. LOL. That’s as close to “balls” as you can expect to achieve. What an interesting combination that I definitely need to try. Thanks.

  8. Definitely an unusual mix of ingredients, but I can see how they would work out well together. And your mellon balls look great — I think it gives them more character when they aren’t perfectly round :)

  9. Yum! Just like your watermelon salad below, I love savory/sweet fruit combinations. I bet these ingredients would work great as a cool summer soup as well, just blend ‘em up!

  10. i think this might be the perfect way to wrap up summer.

  11. I want to run to my kitchen and make this right away – and at the same time, the ingredient combo is scaring me! Way to be daring, it looks delicious.

  12. Gorgeous. I love how beautiful that turned out and agree the flavors sound deliciously daring. I have the same cookbook but sadly it’s packed away at the moment as I am moving so I am definitely bookmarking this recipe. Thanks for sharing. I agree, I think your melon balls look beautiful.

  13. i bought this book a couple weeks ago and made this salad two days later (and loved it). i thought exactly the same thing as you while i was balling the melons. until i read this though, i thought it was just me. still, i’m pretty sure yours look a lot closer to balls than mine did.

  14. Nice use of traditional Thai flavors. As far as an alternative to fish sauce, you could try a splash of sesame oil and a bit of rice wine vinegar.

  15. The melon balls look fine. I think I would try what another poster stated and use sesame oil.

  16. i just learned about the melon recall. i’m sobbing over this recipe!

  17. This looks just so yummy. Great share.

What do you think?