I’ve just discovered a brand new veggie at my farmer’s market!
Meet the deceptively lowly cucamelon! (And it’s technically a fruit.)
It hails from Mexico and other areas of Central America, and is related to the cucumber (same taxonomic family). It also goes by the name of Mexican sour gherkin, because it is just a touch sour, almost with a hint of lime. Probably because of its shape it also goes by sandita (little watermelon). Scientifically, it is known as Melothria scabra, but fortunately we don’t have to call it that.
I bought a half-pint, and was hard-pressed to avoid treating the entire container of this grape-sized yummy treat like popcorn — definitely I wanted to add some to a salad for this blog. (Btw, they’re a lot tastier than popcorn — not a hard bar as far as I’m concerned, but anyway.)
There are many ways to make salads, and if I’d had the ingredients to hand, I would have added cucumber and a bit of watermelon, to see how the cucamelon works with them. The tomatoes at this time of year – Northern hemisphere anyway – are required in any salad I make — those who can’t eat nightshades, substitute with oh, maybe small sliced salad turnips?
Prep time: 15 minutes, much of which is rooting around in a too-small fridge.
Cook time: Zilch.
Rest time: Add dressing just before serving.
Serves 1 as a main.
SIMPLE SUMMER SALAD FEATURING CUCAMELON
* 3 leaves of butter lettuce (2 of iceberg or romaine
* 2 slices of cabbage, red is good for the color
* 1 medium farm fresh tomato, sliced
* 10-12 cucamelons, sliced lengthwise in half.
* your choice of salad dressing – I recommend something light in the way of a vinaigrette. I used just a drizzle of EVOO and a drizzle of rice vinegar. You could use my Dijon Vinaigrette if you like.
* fresh-cracked ground pepper to taste.
Layer on the lettuce, top with cabbage, top that with tomato, top that once again with the cucamelons, drizzle on the dressing, and add the ground pepper. I bet a sprinkle of cilantro would work wonders on this, too. And maybe half a green onion, chopped.
There’s a second cucamelon-based salad coming up for tomorrow’s lunch! (Similar enough to this one that I won’t be posting it.) And, if the farmer’s market still has these next week, I’ll be making salsa or bruscietta out of some of them.
Closing notes: The cucamelons are poised on my probable future floor “wood look” kitchen tile sample, along with the two quartz counter top samples I want to use. (Silestone Olive Green and Eco Luna.)
(The rest of the kitchen – south wall facing outdoors – medium tone hand peeled log, west wall – Sherwin Williams Natural Choice (warm off-white); north wall – Sherwin Williams Meadow Trail (sage); east wall – open to dining room over a peninsula. Major appliances – black. Fixtures, pulls, and hinges – aged bronze. Cabinets: pine, just slightly darker than logs. Ceiling – log to match the south wall.)