Melon salad recipe

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Jewel-toned summer melons balance well with the salty savor of black olives and a vinaigrette punched up with black pepper and the warm sweetness of vanilla. You can save yourself a few minutes by buying a package of Parmesan crisps at a grocery store, but they won’t be as lacy and curled as your own, featured in Restaurant Embellishments.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


For the Melon Salad
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) simple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Grand Marnier, Patrón Citronge, or other orange liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • Small sprig of fresh lemon verbena
  • Small sprig of fresh dill
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
  • 8 ounces of at least two kinds of seasonal melons (trimmed and cut into ½-inch blocks)
For the Soybean Pudding
  • 1 cup thawed frozen shelled soybeans (edamame)
  • ½ cup packed Italian parsley, blanched
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) ice water
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and several pinches of ground white pepper
For the Olive Crumbs
  • ½ cup coarse bread crumbs or panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon minced pitted Kalamata black olives
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
How to Make It
    To Prepare the Melon Salad
  1. In a zipper-lock gallon bag, combine the simple syrup, orange liqueur, olive oil, herbs, and good pinches of salt and pepper. Stir the marinade around, then add the melon cubes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 8 hours.
  2. To Prepare the Soybean Pudding
  3. Puree all the ingredients in a blender. Strain the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve, scraping as needed to push it through. Chill covered in the refrigerator until needed.
  4. To Prepare the Black Olive Crumbs
  5. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Toast them together in a sauté pan until crisp and golden. Spread the crumbs on paper towels to cool.
  6. To Prepare the Vinaigrette
  7. Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  8. Putting it all together
  9. Drain the melon cubes and sprinkle a little salt over them. Arrange a mix of all colors of melon cubes equally down the sides of 4 plates. Stack a couple of them here and there. Spoon 2 mounds of cheese next to the melons and a pool of soybean pudding to one side. Drizzle the vinaigrette around the melons. Garnish with a tablespoon of mounded olive crumbs, tuck herbs and greens in and around, and serve.

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