Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

There are two types of cooking. At least, two that are currently in my mind right now. The first is cooking out of necessity, like getting dinner on the table after a long day or making breakfast in the morning when you are still groggy. The second is a work of art: cooking (or baking or what have you) for the sake of expression. 

When you are cooking for the sake of expression, you let flavor and sensation take you by the hand and lead the way. My good friend Christine, Chef and Owner at Fresh Thymes Eatery, would say that ingredients talk to her. A pot of simmering lentils would chime in: "Christine, add more wine!!!" (I hope it's ok I just told everyone that! 😉). I love this image: it paints a back-and-forth between chef and food. I've never had a bowl of lentils talk to me, but I know the dance: it waltzes you through the kitchen and over to a bottle of balsamic vinegar. You're not even quite sure where you're headed, but you know it will be beautiful when you get there. 

I love that type of cooking. It feels very visceral. 

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés
Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

When I started making this appetizer, both types of cooking came together. I was making snacks for guests, and wanted to create a recipe for Foraged Dish that used OrganicGirls' new Butter, Plus blend as a sort of crostini (this blend of butterhead lettuce hearts has as much iron as spinach, can you believe that?!). That's the tactical part... the part I can take credit for.  But all week a whisper had been at my ear: Ricottaaaa. Cantaloupe. A ripe cantaloupe. This is the two-step you find yourself in when the food is doing the thinking and you're just following it across the dance floor. Next thing you know you're munching on an appetizer that is totally new and different. And it always works: when the ingredients are whispering to you, it's because they know best. 

Give this sweet-and-savory canapé a shot for your next happy hour: grab a ripe melon (one that you can smell even before you cut into it), cook up some bacon or pancetta, and add a dollop of ricotta. Ricotta is like magic, so from there you're golden. The drizzle of balsamic gel is for extra credit.  

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés
Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

OrganicGirl provided me with product for this blog post, but the recipes and opinions are all my own. Working with brands to develop wholesome recipes is one way I keep Foraged Dish going! OrganicGirl helps me stock the pantry and keep the blog going. I only work with brands that I truly enjoy and use.  

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

Published July 20, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 15 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 container OrganicGirl Butter, Plus Greens
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cantaloupe, scooped into ball with a melon baller
  • 1 cup pancetta or bacon, cooked and chopped into 1-inch pieces or smaller
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Spread the butterhead heart pieces out on a plate in a single layer. Spoon 1 tablespoon of ricotta in the middle of each piece of lettuce.
  2. Place 1 cantaloupe ball in the middle of each scoop of ricotta, and then top with a piece of pancetta. Drizzle with balsamic gel and sprinkle with pepper to taste.

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Cucumber, Melon + Avocado Salad (Paleo & Vegan)

Before I jump into this post, I want to thank Carly for pointing out a typo in my last recipe! If you were confused by a post that said "nut-free" and a recipe that was most definitely not nut-free, I apologize! Just another reminder to slow down. For the *correct* recipe, head there now. 

Now for this bowl of green.

By now, you've probably heard of watermelon tomato salad, and you're probably well aware that strawberries and feta are the Peanut Butter and Chocolate of the salad world. You've also probably heard of cucumber and melon, though it may remind you more of scented lotions than summer meals (I shudder to think how many bottles of cucumber melon scented lotion I used in middle school). But here's a new one for you: Cucumber + Melon + Avocado (Plus mint and lemon and maybe even a crack pepper, but that doesn't quite roll off the tongue, does it?).

Avocado works in this salad the same way feta works with strawberries--it adds richness, grounding the entire dish and settling it out. If you open your mouth wide and manage to get a single bite with all three, you find yourself completely intrigued: it's at first herbaceous (gotta love mint), and then refreshing (cucumber!), smooth and creamy (that's the avocado), and finally sweet, as the melon hits your tongue. 

Neither cucumber, nor melon or avocado are so robust that they over power the entire salad--on the contrary, each bite is just a bit different in texture and flavor. It's a good change of pace when you're sick of the same old thing, but mostly it's perfect for showcasing this season's best produce. When I'm looking for something a bit more savory, I even dish this over lettuce, drizzle it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and top it with prosciutto. 

This recipe also helps me take down the out-of-control mint growing in the back yard. Between this salad, this Grilled Lamb Chop, and this Chili-Mint Slaw, we're (barely) managing to keep up with it's growth. What are your favorite ways to use mint recipes? Mojitos anyone?! There's enough to go around! 

Cucumber, Melon & Avocado Salad

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan   |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Throwing avocado into this salad rounds it out--instead of overly sweet, it's got hints of creaminess, a touch of sweetness, and crunch from cucumber.

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 honeydew melon
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • Optional: a few cracks of black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare the produce: Remove the rind and from the melon and chop into cubes. Peel the cucumber, and cut into cubes. Slice open the avocado, and cube that as well.
  2. Juice the lemon into a medium sized salad bowl. Finely chop the mint leaves and add that to the bowl. Toss in the melon and cucumber. (I leave out the avocado at this time, and add it in last in order to preserve it’s shape.)
  3. Finally, gently toss in the avocado.
  4. Sprinkle top of salad with a touch of freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick. Serve.

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