july 18, 2018
When it gets so hot outdoors I wilt from the humidity, I turn to cool things. Not cool as in trendy, but delicious things to enjoy which don’t involve cooking. Some days the very thought of standing at a hot grill turns me to melting mush. It helps that I have a bounty of beautiful Thai basil growing in pots on the deck, and that the anise-like flavor is most appreciated when enjoyed in the uncooked state. And that watermelon radishes are always available in warm weather months! The baby melons adorning store shelves and roadside stands have been calling me to craft tart and sweet salads with thin slices of their summer goodness.
I saw this salad in my mind’s eye and wanted it to come to life on a hot day. Hope you like it and make it. I see this dish as open to improvisation : the addition of cheese or grilled protein makes it a meal, the array of herbal flavors is endless and whatever citrus you have on hand will give a bright burst of flavor to the dressing. Watermelon radishes are psychedelically gorgeous, but any radish, thinly sliced, is an attractive crunchy member of this salad family. Although it’s hot according to the thermometer, I never pass up an excuse to snip some bird chiles (seeds and all) atop my salads, but feel free to omit because their heat is incendiary.
This is not a do-ahead salad, but no matter because all comes together quickly and even more so if you put your kitchen helpers to work. It’s pretty on the plate, and easy to assemble on a blistering hot day. Sounds cool to me.
Thai Melon and Radish Salad
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes four servings
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup
¼ cup coarsely chopped Thai (or regular) basil
one mini melon (like sugar kiss), peeled/seeded/thinly sliced*
one watermelon radish, very thinly sliced and unpeeled
optional garnishes : sprigs of Thai basil, thinly snipped bird chiles, thin slices of lime
* you can also use thinly sliced cantaloupe
- In small nonreactive mixing bowl, combine lime juice with agave, then whisk in olive oil; add chopped basil and set aside.
- On chilled plates, arrange thin slices of melon and watermelon radish.
- Drizzle dressing over and garnish as desired.
- Serve immediately.