Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cantaloupe and Thyme Salad

So, a while ago I was eating cantaloupe with my mother.
It was a cantaloupe lunch.
She'd just been to the grocery store and had also bought some nice salami.
At the deli counter another woman had ordered this salami, and asked for it to be cut paper thin. Mom decided to get the same thing.

While eating the cantaloupe we eyed this salami. It must have been just sitting there taunting us, as salami is sometimes apt to do. About 3 inches in diameter, thin slice, outside rim flecked with coarse black pepper...
Thoughts of proscuitto and melon crossed our minds, and we found that the salami and melon was just as good.

Salty meaty flavor with soft, sweet and fresh, ripe, juicy melon on a bed of tender green lettuce.
When fruit is in season, it's fantastic to have in salads.
For some reason I decided thyme would go well with the whole thing.
The whole thing is hearty but light.

Cantaloupe and Thyme Salad
serves 8

2 heads Boston lettuce, washed and torn
1 cantaloupe, halved, seeds removed, sliced, and rind removed
1/3 lb. good quality, thinly sliced dry salami (mine was Boars Head brand Bianco D'Oro)

3 T cider vinegar
1 T honey
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T thyme leaves, stripped from stems and roughly chopped
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 t kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra thyme sprigs, for garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and chopped thyme. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add salt and several good grinds of black pepper and whisk to combine. Taste with a bit of lettuce and adjust seasonings as necessary. Let the vinaigrette sit at least 15 minutes before using so the thyme has a chance to infuse a bit.
Divide lettuce among plates. Top lettuce with sliced cantaloupe and folded pieces of salami. Drizzle salads with vinaigrette. Strip the leaves from the extra thyme sprigs and sprinkle over the cantaloupe.
Grind a little black pepper over the whole thing if desired.

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