Melon Salad with Chili and Mint

It may seem somewhat counterintuitive, but sweet melons such as cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon taste even more special with a little salt to balance their sweetness. This is why watermelon with feta is such a classic summer salad. We’ve taken this idea a little further by adding a touch of zing from chiles to our melon salad. Don’t overdo it with the chiles. There should be just enough to make your tongue tingle. That along with the sweetness from the melons, a little lime or lemon juice, some mint, and a dash of salt, and you have a summer melon symphony. Enjoy!

  • Prep: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4.

Experiment with different shapes for the diced melon, including using a melon baller if you have one. This melon salad holds up well in the fridge, but the mint should be added at service.

This recipe easily scales up.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of diced melon, honeydew, cantaloupe, or ambrosia melon, or a mixture,  about 1 large or 2 small melons
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • About 1/2 serrano chile, minced (taste the chile first to determine its heat, then add more or less to taste)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp lime juice or lemon juice
  • 10 large fresh spearmint leaves

Method

1 Put the diced melon into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and toss to combine. Add the lime or lemon juice and minced chili. Toss to combine. Chiles vary in their level of hotness, so start with a small amount (maybe 1 teaspoon minced), and add more to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

2 When you are ready to serve, slice the mint leaves thin and gently combine with the diced melon. The easiest way to slice the mint is to chiffonade it: stack the mint leaves, roll them into a cigar shape and slice thin.

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