It’s September in Minnesota.
It’s the time of year when the shorts and sleeveless shirts are in the pile right next to the snuggly sweats and longsleeves, and a day might involve almost as many costume changes as a Lady Gaga show. Play it right, and cool mornings are ideal for bike rides and yard work, and hot afternoons are perfect for, well, sitting around drinking something cool.
At the Farmer’s Market, melons and corn are piled next to the winter squashes and cabbages, and any given day may lend itself to firing up the oven for a Fall squash roast, or it might be too hot to cook anything much.
It was on a hot day that I turned to my go-to fruit salsa once again. Yes, I love a tomato salsa, improvised from the heirloom tomatoes and chiles in my own home garden. But when that big juicy cantaloupe was taking up a whole vegetable drawer, it was time to start chopping.
Fruit salsas are all about balancing sweet, tart, hot and salty. They can be a great savior for a basket of berries that is a little too tart, or a melon that could have used a few more days on the vine. Just toss in some of your sweetener of choice and let the fruit macerate for a few minutes in the lime-y, spicy juices and your fruit will take on a whole new character.
My melon, technically a muskmelon and not a true canteloupe (which would be deeply ribbed and netted, unlike mine) was really ripe. Wretched with juices and fully developed in it’s almost funky melon flavor, I hardly needed to sweeten. Nope, this whole salsa took less than ten minutes to make, and no time at all to serve. I was so lazy that I just opened up a can of black beans, drained and rinsed them, and tossed them with some vinaigrette and greens, and there was the meal.
It was so delicious and refreshing, it didn’t even matter that a cup of cantaloupe has all the Vitamin A and C you need for the day. And a respectable amount of potassium and a sprinkling of B-Vitamins. Nope, we were too busy crunching away.
Simple Canteloupe Salsa with Cherry Tomatoes
Use this as a template, watermelon, berries, even peaches and mangoes are great in this simple salsa.
Makes about 2 cups
1/4 of a 5 pound melon, about 2 cups, chopped
1 cup whole cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1 large jalpeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Peel, seed and chop the cantaloupe, then mix with the remaining ingredients. Taste, if you think it needs a squirt of agave or honey, give it a little shot. More chiles? Go for it.
Serve immediately, keeps tightly covered for one day in the fridge.