This salad uses some of summer’s freshest ingredients, and gives a surprisingly sweet flavor and hearty texture. This is a perfect pick for those lazy Sunday barbecues post-race. You’ll impress your friends with your gourmet cooking ability (but little do they know this salad whips up in only 35 minutes!)
- 1 small to medium cantaloupe (2 pounds)
- 1 large Italian eggplant (1 and 3/4 pounds)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and preheat an outdoor grill or cast iron stovetop grill to high heat.
Cut off the outer rind of the cantaloupe, slice in half, and remove the seeds, then cut into 2-inch-thick slices. Wipe down the grill with an old but clean kitchen towel that has been dabbed in olive oil and place the melon slices on the hot grill. Cook for about two minutes on each side—just long enough to develop defined and dark char marks without overcooking the melon. Do not move the cantaloupe while grilling; only touch it to flip. If you see the cantaloup falling apart on the grill, you’ve cooked it too long.
Cut the eggplant into 1-by-3-inch sticks and place on a sheet pan. Lightly coat with the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is golden and very tender. Allow the eggplant to cool to room temperature.
Shave the onion on a mandolin or slice very thinly by hand. If the mint leaves are large, gently cut them in half. tack the leaves on top of each other and, using a sharp knife, gently cut down the middle, or chiffonade into thin strips.
In a bowl, gently mix together the grilled cantaloupe, eggplant, raw onion, mint, orange zest and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and serve. This salad is great the next day as the flavors marinate together beautifully.
This recipe comes from “Paleo by Season: A Chef’s Approach To Paleo Cooking” by Peter Servold, which is available now on Amazon.