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 the 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.
September 12th, 2011 at 12:55 pm
What a wonderful combination of flavours and colours!
September 12th, 2011 at 1:55 pm
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.
Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen says:
September 12th, 2011 at 4:51 pm
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.
September 12th, 2011 at 6:47 pm
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.
Kirsten@ My German Kitchen...in the Rockies says:
September 12th, 2011 at 10:52 pm
Sweet, spicy, salty, sour and crunchy! Love it.
I wouldn’t worry about the perfect melon balls.
September 13th, 2011 at 2:48 am
Oh man, that looks so amazing, but I loathe fish sauce. Any suggestions on alternative sauces?
September 13th, 2011 at 11:42 am
LOL. That’s as close to “balls” as you can expect to achieve. What an interesting combination that I definitely need to try. Thanks.
Kathryn @ Dramatic Pancake says:
September 13th, 2011 at 12:47 pm
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 :)
September 13th, 2011 at 5:29 pm
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!
September 15th, 2011 at 11:28 pm
i think this might be the perfect way to wrap up summer.
This American Bite says:
September 16th, 2011 at 11:33 am
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.
September 16th, 2011 at 9:02 pm
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.
September 18th, 2011 at 2:37 pm
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.
Kate Sonders Food Writer says:
September 21st, 2011 at 2:17 pm
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.
September 26th, 2011 at 8:59 am
The melon balls look fine. I think I would try what another poster stated and use sesame oil.
lynn @ the actor's diet says:
September 28th, 2011 at 6:59 pm
i just learned about the melon recall. i’m sobbing over this recipe!
October 15th, 2011 at 1:10 pm
This looks just so yummy. Great share.