If there’s one benefit to an Ottawa winter, it’s an appreciation of an Ottawa summer.
Without bad, there is no good.
There are just so many things to appreciate: the deep greens of front lawns and leafy trees return; the sky is somehow bluer, the clouds whiter, the sun brighter; and there is endless choice of colourful fruit flown in from Mexico and Florida.
None of that yucky stuff from Chile.
Prices just plummet come May, you just have to take advantage.
There’s just so much to choose from: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries; cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon; pineapple, mangoes, kiwi; grapefruit, oranges. They’re all fair game for a lovely, colourful, delicious summer side.
But let’s not just focus on the fruit part. There’s also the salad part. This isn’t some sweet side that can be confused with a healthy dessert, no sir. I’m not one for book learning so I don’t know the real definition for salad…Alright I’ll come clean, I searched the Google for a definition of salad: “Blah blah blah covered in a moist dressing,” was what I read.
Three parts oil, one part acid. That’s a key ratio. Stick to that for your salad dressings and you are set for life (at least for salad dressings). Lemon juice seems appropriate for this salad, so I used it, but there is nothing stopping the adventurous among you to try orange juice or grapefruit juice instead. Balsamic vinegar would provide a nice tart sweetness. Just make sure to use the good stuff.
For the oil, extra virgin olive oil is the obvious choice. But maybe you want to try a walnut or roasted almond oil. You could also try bacon fat and some vinegar for a warm dressing. You keep all that bacon fat, don’t you? You’re only limited by your imagination.
Herbs go great with fruit, too. And salads. You want the soft herbs (basil, mint, tarragon) as opposed to the woody ones (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano).
And for an extra kick: spices, if you feel like it. I use dried red chili flakes, for some kick-ass heat, below.
For the salad:
- 1/2 cantaloupe melon
- 1/2 honeydew melon
- 1/2 pint blueberries
- 1/2 pint rasberries
- handful mint leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
For the dressing:
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
Slice the cantaloupe melon into four pieces. Run your knife along the rind to separate the flesh of the fruit from the rind. Chop into chunks. Do the same to the honeydew. Place all the melon into a large bowl.
Tip in the blueberries and rasberries.
In a jam jar, place all the dressing ingredients. Put the lid on and shake what your mama gave you. Also shake the dressing, until combined.
When ready to serve pour the dressing over the fruit and toss to coat. Cover the whole works with the mint.
Serve with any grilled meat.