It’s hot outside! Nobody can be bothered to stand in the kitchen and cook. But a salad with melon, cucumber, herbs and mozzarella is quickly prepared. It provides us with important minerals and tastes deliciously refreshing.
Summer, sun, melon!
Summer and watermelon simply go hand in hand with each other. Ever since my childhood, I have associated this melon with holidays. The reason for this being that, from the first week of June onwards, watermelons were available in every fruit shop in the village. At that time, there were no supermarkets in the countryside. But there were vendors at the sides of the roads, their small trucks loaded with watermelons and honeydew melons. They were so cheap that we even had enough pocket money to buy some.
When is watermelon ripe?
But very often, the first melons of the season did not taste very good. My grandmother told me why: first, watermelons grow, then they store water, and after that they become sweet with the help of the sun. Italian watermelons are mainly grown in southern Italy, and even there, the melons only ripen in June in the open air. Watermelon festivals are then held across southern Italy. If you are ever in the area, try fried melons. A tasty experience rich in contrast, and I am sure the juicy cool centre of the crispy breadcrumbs will surprise you.
A small lesson on melons
When buying melons, always choose one with an even shape. This way, you can be pretty sure that the melon was exposed to enough sun and water. The skin of the melon should not be damaged in any way. The more water a melon contains, the sweeter it can become. If you like it sweet, choose the heavier melon if you find two melons of the same size.
Melons lie on the ground while growing. This part of the watermelon is, of course, a little more unripe and lighter in colour than the rest of the melon. The smaller this part is, the longer the watermelon has been lying on the field to ripen. Young watermelons have a shiny skin, older ones are matt. Try out the knocking test: tap the skin with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow, the melon contains a lot of water and is ripe. If it sounds dull, it is more likely to be unripe.
Summery watermelon salad
- 4 slices watermelon
- 1 peach
- 1 cucumber
- 20 cherry tomatoes
- 1 handful pine nuts, alternatively any other type of nut
- 1 mozzarella, alternatively fresh sheep’s or goat’s cheese
- 6 leaves basil
- 6 leaves mint
- 1 pinch salt
- balsamic vinegar, alternatively lemon juice
- Wash vegetables, herbs and peach and gently dab dry. Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds and juice. Peel the cucumber as you wish, remove the inner seeds as well and chop into small pieces. Removing the juice and seeds should prevent the salad from becoming too “watery”. Peel the melon, remove the seeds and cut the fresh of the fruit into bite-sized pieces.
- Fry the pine nuts in a coated pan without fat until they are golden brown. Mix together all of the ingredients. Finally, add the chopped mozzarella and the chopped herbs. Season with salt and marinate with oil and, if desired, with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
- Salty olives also taste excellent in this salad. But olives and salt should always be added just before serving. Otherwise the salt will take too much water from the fruit and vegetables.