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Charentais Melon Salad

We’re just back from a camping trip to the Loire Valley and this is one of the many delicious things we prepared at our tent. We brought Rick Stein’s French Odyssey along for inspiration and have him to thank for this fabulous summer salad. Make it for a starter or light lunch with some French bread to mop the plate.  A glass of white wine is also obligatory.

Wine Suggestion: We’d found a gem of a wine in the Chateau Moncontour Vouvray Sec which hit the spot with this dish. A lively and dry Chenin Blanc which had fresh appley fruit, and a crispness and minerality that worked with the Chèvre and sweetness of the melon. Summer in a glass as well as on the plate.

Charentais Melon Salad – serves 4

  • 1/2 a ripe, orange-fleshed melon (Charentais or Cantaloup)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 225g vine ripened tomatoes (skinned if you like – we didn’t bother)
  • 100g firm, crumbly goat’s cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely shredded mint

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Pinch caster sugar

Whisk the oil, vinegar, sugar and some salt and pepper together to make the dressing (a fork in a mug will do the trick if you’re short on utensils).

Cut the melon into four wedges and scoop out the seeds. Remove the skin and slice each wedge into long thin slices.

Peel the cucumber and slice into 3mm thick wedges. Slice the tomatoes.

Arrange the sliced melon on a large serving platter and cover with the cucumber and tomatoes. Crumble the goat’s cheese over the top and scatter over the mint. Spoon over the dressing and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Steins’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005).

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