Friday, August 6, 2010

Market Day: August 4
Highlights of this week's market: Field Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes, Fennel, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Watermelons, Cantaloupes, Corn, Cucumbers, Nectarines, Peaches, Yellow Beans, Amaranth, Green Beans, Pumpkin Vine, Fresh Herbs

This Week's News:
You can't tell from these photos, which feature the other delicious things available at market this week-- early apples, red onions, rhubarb-- but the big news at market is that melons have appeared: watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew, to name just a few. Tomatoes and peaches get most of the attention this time of year, but the melons you'll find at market are just as luscious and sweet as either of those. They're perfect to eat as they are, but when I talked to Chef Tal about the piles of melons I'd seen at Davis Square, he started talking about savory treatments: throwing together watermelons, mint, feta, and lime juice, or wrapping cantaloupe with prosciutto. The melon-and-ham idea, while delicious, is a little bit obvious: of course everything is better when you wrap it in ham. You can wrap melons, you can wrap figs, you can blanch zucchini and use it to wrap mozzarella and then wrap that. (If everything is better when you wrap it in ham, everything wrapped in ham is better when you add cheese. As long as you're not afraid of overkill.)

The watermelon salad idea, however, was a little more seductive because a little more unusual. It's the kind of thing that's starting to show up on restaurant menus, or at high-end salad bars, but if you brought it to a barbeque other guests might be pleasantly surprised. The salad is light but substantial, ideal for a long summer afternoon. Or as Tal said, "easy breezy lemon-squeezy." He could have said "lime-squeezy," I guess, but that wouldn't have quite the same ring to it.

Chef Tal's Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad
1 small watermelon (yields 8 cups chopped)
3oz feta
1 bunch mint (or 1 1/2 cups chiffonade)
1/4 cup lime juice (about 8 limes)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

Cut up the watermelon into pieces of one-inch or so. Cut the feta into slightly smaller pieces. Chiffonade the mint. Pile everything into a big mixing bowl, then pour over the lime juice and the olive oil and toss to coat. Add a pinch or two of salt. Taste and add more lime juice or salt as needed.

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