8.22.2008

Maple melon salad

I've forgotten the name of the strange apple like fruit that charmed me at the market. Something of a cross between an apple and a pear, it has the shape and firmness of a Northern Spy, with the skin texture and flavor of a Bosc. Thick, weathered exterior yields beneath the knife as I slice to a firm, delicate flesh.

I am making my first fruit salad of the season. While berries and peaches are my favorite for eating, the melons and apples of late August and early fall are the best fixings for a medley bowl. Their juices seep and blend until a pool of sweet delight sits at the bottom of the porcelain, steeping the fruits in a heightened potion of their own flavors.

A bit of maple syrup and lemon juice help in the process. The first enhances the sugars while the second adds a tart, biting edge and acts as savior of color. Finally, a touch of salt lends brilliance to it all; the cantaloupe brightens, the watermelon deepens, and the strange round pear seems to dance on the tongue. It is August, they seem to say, a chorus of calming voices in the midst of so much chaos, linger over us while you can.

MAPLE MELON SALAD

Serves 3-4

Chop 1/2 cantaloupe, 1/2 small watermelon, and 1 Asian pear (or apple or pear) into bite size pieces. Mix in a serving bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and several cranks sea salt to taste. Enjoy chilled.

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