This summer salad is based on one from Nigel Slater, always a trustworthy source. It's perfect for the summer since the only thing you have to cook is the bacon which isn't so bad, especially if you use Elizabeth's low and slow method. (If it's really hot, you can always use the microwave.) Read on for the recipe.
Nigel's recipe is a bit simpler, using parsley instead of the mint and arugula/cress. You can find it on his website, here.
Cool Melon Salad with Hot Bacon
4 or 5 strips of smoked bacon, cut into 3" pieces
1 small, sweet melon such as cantaloupe
Several small mint leaves, torn if big
A small handful of arugula or spicy cress, washed and dried well
For the dressing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice - about one large lemon
Freshly ground pepper
A few mint sprigs
Start the bacon cooking. Slice the melon in half, scoop out the seeds and cut into wedges. Cut the skin off the flesh and the flesh into large cubes. "Keep the pieces generous sized," says Nigel's recipe. "Otherwise the salad will end up being 'bitty.'" Remember to tend to the bacon while cutting the melon. Place the cubes in a bowl and chill in the fridge.
Whisk the olive oil, honey and lemon juice in a bowl. Reserve.
Drain the bacon. Toss the melon, arugula/cress and mint with a drizzle of dressing (you won't need it all.) Add the bacon, toss again, and garnish with the fresh pepper and mint springs. Serve immediately.
Dana's hints: If you measure the olive oil first, and the honey second, the measuring spoon will be coated with oil and the honey will slide right out. While the hot bacon and cooi melon are nice contrasts, this salad is equally good when all ingredients are at room temperature.
(Image: Dana Velden)