Before leaving Blind Pig Bistro to bring us some holiday cheer, Chef Manuel Alfau introduced a summer salad to celebrate the season's bounty. "We're doing a little salad right now at Blind Pig. It's replacing the beets. I can't stand beets all year round. Right now, there's all this stuff we can work with, and just in a couple of months, it'll just be beets again with kale and chard," said Alfau. "All these things--Charlyn melon, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupes--are all in season right now and they're killer." Today, he offers up his recipe for Blind Pig's summer melon salad with peaches, an ideal seasonal small plate considering the restaurant's recent accolade.
Summer Melon Salad with Peaches
Large platter serves up to 8 people
Half of a Charlyn Melon, peeled and sliced
Half of a Honeydew, peeled and sliced
2 Ripe Peaches, pitted and sliced
Wild Watercress, washed
The juice of 5 oranges
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
Really nice olive oil (Merula is nice)
Greek Gods Plain Yogurt (Small)
Mix all ingredients except the vinegar into a sauce pot and reduce by half.
Add vinegar and set aside to cool. Put in squeeze bottle.
Dress the fruit with the orange and vinegar mix and toss. There should be a small pool of dressing at the bottom. Add a generous amount of olive oil and taste for balance. If more oil is needed, don't hesitate. Add more.
You should be able to see the spices floating around in there. Getting a bite of these will be what makes the dish!
Choose a platter, and place many dollops of yogurt on it.
Once the fruit is dressed, use a slotted spoon to plate, arranging them on the same platter, or individual plates for a lovely first course. Toss the watercress in the left over dressing for a split second, as this green wilts quite fast, and scatter on top of the melons.
Serve immediately with some kind of rosé or bubbly drink!