Howdy from Texas! I’m here visiting friends and family for a couple weeks, and it’s (predictably) hot as hell. Real Texans don’t let the blistering heat get in the way of a good picnic, though. Yesterday we packed our baskets with bug-spray, sunscreen, ice-cold beer and way too much food, and stretched out under the shade of a sprawling oak tree by a pond on my ranch. Over the next few hours we swam in the silent, still water and watched the swallows swoop in to drink from the mirrored surface. We ate and drank merrily as the afternoon stretched into evening, until night fell and the whippoorwill’s lonesome call marked the hour to go home.
This is the perfect recipe to bring on a hot summer picnic, though you could also serve it at the dinner table. The mint and melon make for a cooling and unexpected salad that is delicious in any setting. Though any Texan will tell you that everything tastes better when eaten under an oak tree.
Cantaloupe & Zucchini Carpaccio with Feta & Mint
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1/2 of a medium-sized cantaloupe, seeded and peeled
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Pinch coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Diced fresh mint leaves, for garnish
- 3 oz (85 g) feta
For 4 small appetizer-sized portions
Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, carefully slice the zucchini and melon lengthwise, creating thin ribbons. Transfer to a mixing bowl and dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and gently toss to coat. Transfer to serving plates and top with feta and mint. Serve immediately.