Two weeks of particularly fresh, flavourful food in the Constantly Cooking kitchen are drawing to a close. I had so much fun with the August Farmers’ Feast Challenge, dreaming up great new dishes thanks to a bursting bushel basket of produce from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. The inspiration for this salad was the classic cantaloupe-prosciutto combination that is so delicious and popular. I love the contrasting colours of the melon, bacon and mint; the simple dressing really helps the ingredients’ naturally yummy flavours shine through. While I love the vibrant green colour of the canary melon from Rochon Garden used in this version, orange-hued cantaloupe would work nicely also. This would be a great brunch dish or an appetizer for a summery meal.
For the salad:
- 1 small melon (canary or honeydew)
- 8 pieces bacon, cooked and cut into 2 inch (5 cm) pieces
- ¼ cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) honey
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground pepper
- Cook the bacon (I like to bake mine on a parchment-lined sheet at 375F for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through).
- While bacon is cooking, cut the melon in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds; cut melon into 1.5 inch (3.75 cm) wedges and cut rind off each wedge. Slice the melon flesh into large cubes (approximately 5 inches / 3.75 cm square) and put these in a serving bowl.
- Put the olive oil, honey, lemon juice, Dijon and a few grinds of pepper in a small jar with a tight lid. Cover the jar and shake until dressing is well blended.
- Once bacon is crispy, drain it briefly on a paper-towel lined plate and then coarsely chop it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
- Drizzle about two-thirds the dressing over the melon cubes and gently toss to combine. Add more dressing if needed – you want the melon well coated but not drowned.
- Sprinkle bacon pieces and mint over the melon; toss again and serve immediately.
Serves 4 – 6.