Hello? Is anybody out there?
It seems like I’m the only person on this planet who is not on vacation yet.
I rarely go on vacation in August. I always prefer September, especially if I’m going to a Greek island and early September is the best time for it. There aren’t too many tourists, you feel like you almost have the whole island to yourself, it is quieter, way cooler and oh so serene. That’s how I like my vacations to be of late, serene.
So since I’m still here, battling the heat from my apartment in the city of The Hague, I might as well share some recipes, right? Perhaps the five of you who are reading this would like some cooking inspiration, or should I more accurately say "non-cooking" inspiration since all you have to do to make this salad is chop and assemble the ingredients.
This is a pretty awesome salad though, of cantaloupe, cucumber, tomatoes, a tangy goat’s cheese and a rather straightforward dressing. ‘Tis the season for simplicity, for melons and tomatoes that are so juicy and plump, they really don’t need anything more to be delicious.
The honeyed flavor of the orange-fleshed melon, the sweetness of the tomatoes, the refreshing qualities of the cucumber and the creamy and slightly sharp taste of the goat’s cheese will satisfy and cool you down at the same time.
Like me at the moment, you may not be swimming in clean blue seas or sitting on a sandy beach under the sun, yet this salad feels and looks so fresh you might as well be.
Cantaloupe, Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Goat’s Cheese
Cantaloupe melons are a variety of very sweet, orange-fleshed melons. They can be found everywhere in the Netherlands but to be frank I have never seen them being sold in Greece. If you live in places where they are not readily available, substitute with another very sweet melon.
This salad is ideal served on its own for lunch or even a light supper. Pair it with some bread (of course) to have a more substantial meal.
Yield: 4 servings
for the dressing
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
Pinch of caster sugar
Sea salt flakes (I used Maldon), to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the salad
½ ripe Cantaloupe melon, thinly sliced
½ large cucumber with skin, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2-3 vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
100 g fresh, crumbly goat’s cheese or homemade chèvre
Small purple shiso leaves or any other micro greens you like or fresh mint leaves
for the dressing
Add all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and using a small whisk or a fork, mix everything together. Give the dressing a taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside while you prepare the salad.
for the salad
In a large salad platter, arrange the cantaloupe and the tomato and cucumber slices. Crumble the goat’s cheese over the top and drizzle the dressing with a light hand, adding more if needed. The fruit and vegetables should be lightly covered with the dressing, not swimming in it.
Garnish with the shiso leaves and serve immediately.