Hello, fellow food enthusiasts! Jeff Cutler here, a proud member of the Foodies of New England team. As the warm summer breeze caresses our skin and the sun shines brightly overhead, I find myself yearning for a culinary creation that encapsulates the essence of this glorious season. Today, I invite you on a flavorful journey as we explore my latest obsession: the Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives, and grilled spicy squid.
The mere thought of this vibrant salad fills me with excitement and anticipation. The combination of juicy melons, tangy feta, briny olives, and the kick of spicy squid creates a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate. It’s a culinary masterpiece that embodies the spirit of summer, offering a refreshing and invigorating experience with every bite.
Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives and grilled spicy squid
- 3 mixing bowls
- 4 plates
- 4 Slices Crenshaw melon
- 4 Slices honeydew melon
- 4 Slices seedless watermelon
- 4 Slices musk melon
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 pinch chopped mint
- 1 pinch chopped thyme
- Salt and black peppers
- 1/2 lb arugula
- 1/8 cup crumbled feta
- 16 oil-cured black olives pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 lb fresh squid tubes butterflied
- 1 tablespoon Harissa paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- In a small mixing bowl add your minced shallots, then cover with the champagne vinegar and the honey. Next add your mustard, mix to incorporate then slowly whisk in your oil. Once the oil has been incorporated add in your herbs and season with salt and pepper. Reserve until needed.
- Marinate your squid with the Harissa paste, lemon juice and olive oil and refrigerate till ready to grill. Don't allow to marinate more than 2 hours.
- Place cut melons into a mixing bowl and lightly dress with vinaigrette. Arrange on 4 plates being sure to separate the different varieties of melons. Season with salt and pepper then sprinkle the melons with the olives and feta.
- Using the same bowl place the arugula in and lightly dress with your vinaigrette. Place squid on very hot grill for no more than two minutes they will curl and that's ok but try to get a good char on them.
- Remove from the grill and slice into thin rings, arrange the cut squid onto the melons then using the arugula that you have tossed with your vinaigrette place a little pile on each plate. Serve at once.
Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives and grilled spicy squid is a dish that delights with a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. The experience of creating and enjoying this salad can evoke a feeling of freshness and satisfaction, especially on warm summer days.
Preparing the melon, one might feel a sense of anticipation as the cool, juicy fruit releases its fragrant aroma upon slicing. Choosing a ripe melon is key; it should feel heavy for its size, and a tap should yield a hollow sound, indicating the perfect ripeness for a salad where its sweetness will be a centerpiece.
The contrast of the melon’s sweetness with the sea salty feta is a thoughtful balance. Feta cheese brings a creamy texture and a briny sharpness that can elevate the taste of the melon. The tactile experience of crumbling feta can be quite enjoyable, adding an intimate touch to the preparation process.
Incorporating black olives introduces a subtle bitterness and depth, which complements the brighter flavors. It’s delightful how such small additions can create a more complex taste profile. When adding them to the salad, their shiny, dark surfaces glisten like little gems amongst the vibrant colors of the melon and greens.
Grilling the squid requires a bit of finesse. The squid should be scored lightly, which helps in two ways: it allows the marinade to penetrate deeper and also prevents the squid from curling up too much during grilling. The spice level can be adjusted to preference, but a moderate amount can add an exciting kick that stands up well to the other bold flavors in the salad. The squid’s transformation on the grill, gaining char marks and a smoky aroma, can be particularly satisfying.
Assembly of the salad is the final act, where all elements come together. Drizzling a light vinaigrette, perhaps with a hint of citrus, ties the components together without overshadowing any single ingredient. The final presentation should be a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, with the various textures and colors inviting one to dig in.
The combination of chilled melon, creamy feta, earthy olives, and warm, spicy squid creates a symphony of flavors and sensations. Each bite carries the potential to transport one to a seaside Mediterranean escape, even if just for a moment. Enjoying this salad can be a blissful experience, embodying the essence of summer dining—light, refreshing, yet utterly satisfying.
Serving Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives and grilled spicy squid
Serving this Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives and grilled spicy squid can be as much a part of the experience as the preparation. Imagine presenting it on a large, flat platter that allows the colors to really pop against the backdrop. It’s a dish best enjoyed outdoors, under the gentle warmth of the sun, with a light breeze that complements the fresh flavors.
Picture a gathering of close friends or family, where the salad is placed at the center of a long table, inviting everyone to help themselves. The casual nature of the meal encourages laughter and conversation, as guests are drawn together by the shared enjoyment of the dish.
Pairing Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives, and grilled spicy squid with a chilled glass of white wine or a sparkling beverage can enhance the overall sensory experience, adding a touch of effervescence that mirrors the lively atmosphere. As the salad is passed around, there’s a sense of communal joy, with each person taking a portion and perhaps commenting on the delightful combination of flavors.
The act of serving becomes an extension of the hospitality, showcasing a desire to nourish and please the guests, making the meal not just about sustenance but about creating memories and fostering connections.
- What type of melon works best for this salad? For the most delightful experience, a ripe cantaloupe or honeydew melon is recommended due to their succulent sweetness and firm texture. These varieties will contrast beautifully with the savory components of the salad.
- Can I substitute another cheese for feta? Certainly! While feta cheese offers a unique briny flavor and creamy texture, you could experiment with other cheeses that crumble well and offer a similar saltiness, such as cotija or halloumi, which also grills nicely if you prefer a warm element.
- Is there a vegetarian alternative to the grilled squid? Yes, for those preferring a vegetarian option, grilled halloumi or tofu marinated in similar spices can provide a comparable texture and spiciness. The key is to maintain the balance of flavors and textures that make the salad so enjoyable.
- How do I prevent the squid from becoming too tough when grilling? The secret to tender squid is quick cooking at high heat. Make sure your grill is hot before adding the squid and cook it for no more than 1-2 minutes on each side. Scoring the squid can also help it cook more evenly.
- Can Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives and grilled spicy squid be made ahead of time? This salad is best enjoyed fresh, however, you can prepare the individual components ahead of time. Grill the squid, slice the melon, and crumble the cheese, then store them separately in the refrigerator. Assemble the salad just before serving to ensure the melon is crisp and the squid is at its best.
- What dressing would pair well with Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives and grilled spicy squid? A light citrus vinaigrette complements the flavors wonderfully. You might whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, a touch of honey, salt, and pepper. The dressing should be drizzled over the salad right before serving to maintain the freshness of the ingredients.
In conclusion, the Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives, and grilled spicy squid is a dish that captures the essence of summer dining. It’s a celebration of fresh, vibrant flavors that come together to create a meal that’s as visually appealing as it is delicious. The interplay of sweet melon, tangy cheese, earthy olives, and the smoky heat of grilled squid makes for an unforgettable culinary experience. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious food enthusiast, this recipe offers an opportunity to explore the art of salad-making in new and exciting ways.
For those who revel in the joys of seasonal cooking and seek inspiration from the bounties of diverse food scene, this salad is a testament to the region’s rich culinary heritage. It’s a dish that would be right at home on the pages of Foodies of New England, where the love for innovative recipes and local ingredients is celebrated.
As we wrap up this blog post, we hope that the tips, serving suggestions, and FAQs have equipped you with the knowledge to confidently prepare this delightful Summer Melon Salad with sea salty feta, black olives, and grilled spicy squid. May it bring a taste of summer to your table, and may the process of creating it be as joyful as the act of sharing it with those you cherish. Enjoy the burst of flavors, the shared laughter over the meal, and the memories created around the dining table with this quintessential summer dish.