Cucumber melon salad

Juicy, sweet, spicy, sour, crunchy – a salad that will turn heads at your next barbeque potluck.

In Praise of Leftovers
A light and cool summer salad with cucumbers, fresh fruit, mint, cilantro, a little chile heat, and crunchy peanuts.

When I got home from a recent retreat, the fridge was bare. The kids and I had to go out for breakfast on the following morning for lack of fruit, bread, milk, or eggs. Amazing! The next day (a Monday), I could hardly close the fridge.

Once the grocery shopping is done, I often spend a good two hours in the kitchen – cleaning the fridge, consolidating boxes of crackers, freezing overly ripe bananas for smoothies, and washing veggies for the week. If I don't make time for this task (which, crazily, I actually like), I am sure to be frustrated and impulse-eating by Wednesday. A giant bunch of unwashed kale taking up a whole shelf in the fridge isn't nearly as likely to be sauteed with eggs in the morning as a neat like bag of washed and chopped kale. I overestimate myself if I think otherwise.

This week, I cut up a cantaloupe and a pineapple. I washed two big bunches of cilantro and a head of lettuce, roasted a head of cauliflower, made a big batch of brown rice, and rescued half a head of radicchio that looked past its prime but actually just needed a little trimming.

I was famished by the time I was done – and of course, inspired by handling all those beautiful fruits and veggies. This salad is what I made for lunch. My goodness. It's not summer here in the Northwest, but this salad tricked me. Juicy, sweet, spicy, sour, crunchy.

This salad is a delicious little number to bring to a potluck or barbeque and infinitely more fascinating that the other salads that might be sitting on the table. (I'm always looking for a chance to be popular. At least I admit it.)

Vietnamese Cucumber and Melon Salad with Peanuts
Serves 1 famished Household Coordinator or 2 more petite eaters. Eyeball it for a crowd.

1 cup Vietnamese cucumber, thickly sliced
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
Cilantro, stems and all, about a handful, sliced
Mint leaves, to taste, sliced
Celery leaves, to taste, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh chile (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
Fish sauce, to taste
Salt, to taste
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salted peanuts, to garnish 

Gently combine the cucumber, pineapple, and cantaloupe in a medium bowl. Add a good portion of cilantro, mint leaves, celery leaves, thinly sliced red onion, and fresh chile if you wish. Add sugar, a good jigger of fish sauce, salt, juice from half a lime, and sesame oil. Combine gently with your hands, and scatter chopped salted peanuts over the top.  

Related post on In Praise of Leftovers: Kale Caesar with Rye Croutons

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