Cool Off With Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime

Honeydew melon goes savory.
Honeydew melon goes savory.

When summer heat is at its full force, few things satisfy more than sinking your teeth into a wedge of sweet, ice-cold melon.

But give honeydew an unexpected savory spin to enjoy a thoroughly head-turning and palate-popping experience.

“Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime” definitely surprises and satisfies as a side or starter on a balmy day.

It’s from “The Complete Salad Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to 200+ Vibrant Dishes Using Greens, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and More” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

It showcases more than 200 recipes for salads that will take you through summer and beyond, including “Southwest Beef Salad with Cornbread Croutons,” “Roasted Grape and Cauliflower Salad with Chermoula,” “Shaved Salad with Pan-Seared Scallops” and “Cherry and Goat Cheese Couscous Salad.”

This honeydew salad recipe couldn’t be easier. I think melon is best when very cold, so I suggest cutting up the melon ahead of time to chill properly in the fridge before proceeding with the recipe. I added that to the descriptor in the ingredients list.

Fragrant, sweet honeydew.
Fragrant, sweet honeydew.

Then, all you do is whisk together a very Vietnamese-style dressing of lime juice, shallots, pounded garlic and Thai chiles, and fish sauce. If your melon isn’t as sweet as you would like, you might also want to add a little sugar. Even if you manage to remove most of the seeds from your chiles, you’ll still end up with a sweet, briny, and tangy dressing with a good pop of heat.

Toss the melon chunks in the dressing along with chopped cilantro, mint, basil and dry-roasted peanuts.

The taste is pure icy and spicy.

The dressing could easily be used on cucumbers or green papaya, too.

But go with the honeydew for a salad that’s really quenching.

A unique summer salad.
A unique summer salad.

Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime

(Serves 4 to 6)

1/3 cup lime juice (3 limes)

1 shallot, sliced thin

2 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (optional, depending on sweetness level of melon)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 honeydew melon, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (6 cups), chilled ahead of time

5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or mint, divided

5 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil, divided

5 tablespoons salted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped fine, divided

Combine the lime juice and shallot in a large bowl. Using a mortar and pestle (or on cutting board using flat side of chef’s knife), mash Thai chiles, garlic, and salt to fine paste. Add chile paste; sugar, if using; and fish sauce to lime juice mixture and stir to combine.

Add honeydew, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup mint, and 1/4 cup peanuts and toss to combine. Transfer to shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, remaining 1 tablespoon mint, and remaining 1 tablespoon peanuts, and serve.

Adapted from “The Complete Salad Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen

More Fun Melon Recipes to Enjoy: Cured Watermelon Crudo

And: Watermelon and Seafood Curry

And: Cantaloupe Cake

And: Broiled Cantaloupe with Hand-Stretched Mozzarella Curds and Prosciutto

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