It's not often you come across a melon recipe worth the trouble. Beneath the gnarled, canvased skin of a cantaloupe or the striped hyde of a watermelon, breakfast hides already in its simplicity. A knife machetes down the mid-line, orange, pink, and yellow fruit breaks open, and the table is set.
There are evenings, however, when a picnic calls for something more. With fork and blanket, a bit of preparation must be done. A cantaloupe, halved, is scooped into balls or cubes, a cucumber plucked, still bristling, from the vine, and sliced into rounds and quartered. Seeds are roasted, a bit of dressing is shaken in green glass, and the mixture is drizzled over the glass bowl full with fruit and vegetable.
Part relish, part salad, the Indian summer produce is the perfect picnic sides to a loaf of baguette, a hunk of cheese, and a tub of bluefish paté. On the town green, spread a blanket across the yellowing grass, quiet yourself against the noisy chorus of cicadas, and settle in for an early September supper.
CUCUMBER MELON SALAD
Thinly slice and quarter 1 large cucumber. Dice 1 small cantaloupe, or other similar melon, and mix together in a large glass container or picnic bowl. Heat up a cast iron skillet, clean the cantaloupe seeds, and toss them in for several minutes, stirring constantly, to roast. When browned, shake seeds in a salad dressing bottle together with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 small minced hot pepper, 2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar, and salt and maple syrup to taste. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.