Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tamarillo and Canary Melon Salad with Honey Mint Yogurt Dressing

     Summer Salad!
     This salad features two great fruits that many cooks are not familiar with.  Canary Melon has a bright yellow rind and the fruit flesh is a pale whitish yellow.  The flavor of Canary Melon is lighter than Honeydew, so it is perfect for summer.  Canary Melons are about the size of an American football, so each can provide 2 to 3 portions.
     Tamarillo is native to South America.  Tamarillo grows in high elevations of the rain forest from Colombia to Peru and Chile.  Tamarillo is in the Nightshade family of plants.  Tamarillo is also called "Tree Tomato" because it looks like a tomato when it is cut open.
     The Tamarillo skin is not eaten.  The fruit and seedy pulp is scooped out of the skin.  The seeds are palatable and they sometimes have a slight crunch.
     Just like the South American fruit Naranjilla, Tamarillo has a bitter flavor.  The flavor tastes like a combination of passion fruit and pomegranate with a lemony bitter alkaline finish.
     Many chefs simply offset the bitter flavor of Tamarillo with a generous amount of granulated sugar.  This may sweeten the fruit, but a copious amount of sugar does not appeal to health conscious consumers.  A natural sweetener, like honey, is a better choice.
     Slightly sweetening Tamarillo Fruit with honey will still leave the bitter alkaline aftertaste to conquer.  The enzymes in goat milk yogurt (Greek Yogurt) help to stabilize the alkaline flavor, especially when the yogurt is mixed with honey and mint.  Many Mediterranean chefs use Honey Mint Yogurt as an accompanying sauce for fruit, because this sauce can make just about any kind of bitter fruit taste good.  All I can say is that the combination of Tamarillo and Honey Mint Yogurt creates a flavor that is intriguing!

     Honey Mint Yogurt Dressing:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  (About 1/2 cup)  
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of goat milk yogurt (Greek yogurt) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 1 teaspoon of finely minced mint leaves.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time while stirring, till the dressing is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  (About 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons should be enough.)
     Chill the dressing aside for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.

     Tamarillo Preparation:
     Step 1:  Cut 2 Tamarillos in half.
     Step 2:  Trim the bottom end of one of the Tamarillo halves flat, so it will sit evenly when used as a garnish.
     Set the thick Tamarillo garnish aside.
     Step 3:  Scoop the pulp and fruit out of the remaining 3 tamarillo halves.
     Place the Tamarillo pulp on a cutting board.
     Chop the Tamarillo fruit into small pieces.
     Scrape the fruit and juice off of the cutting board and place it in a small bowl.
     Chill the chopped Tamarillo till it is needed.

     Canary Melon Preparation: 
     Step 1:  Cut an average size canary melon in half lengthwise.  (Save one half of the melon for another recipe.)
     Scoop the pulp and seeds out of the half melon and discard them.
     Cut the thin rind off of the canary melon half.
     Step 2:  Cut the melon half across the middle into 2 melon quarters.
     Cut the 2 canary melon quarters lengthwise into thin slices.
     Chill the canary melon slices till they are needed.

     Tamarillo and Canary Melon Salad with Honey Mint Yogurt Dressing: 
     This recipe yields 1 large salad portion.
     Step 1:  Mound 3 cups of mixed baby lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Step 2:  Cut 2 paper thin slices of White Onion and separate the slices into rings.
     Sprinkle the onion over the lettuce.
     Sprinkle a few paper thin slices of carrot over the salad for color.
     Step 3:  Arrange the canary melon slices on the salad greens, so they point outward from center.
     Step 4:  Pour about 1/4 cup of the Honey Mint Yogurt Dressing over the salad.
     Spoon the chopped Tamarillo fruit and juices over the salad.
     Drizzle about 1/4 cup of the remaining Honey Mint Yogurt dressing over the Tamarillo.
     Place the reserved tamarillo half garnish on top of the salad.

     A simple, pretty and refreshing tasting naturally bitter sweet summer salad!

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