In case you haven't already figured it out, the formula for a trusty summer salad has three parts: some spice from arugula, sweetness from fruit, and creaminess from cheese. And evidently I am on a fruity summer salad kick, this being number three in the line up with my Arugula Salad with Watermelon, Feta and Prosciutto and Grilled Nectarine Salad with Roquefort. If turning on the oven sounds like the worst idea of the decade because it's so darn hot, a fruity summer salad is really your best option. And 90% humidity and 95 degrees in Connecticut certainly qualifies. I wonder how many ways can I make a salad without the Man demanding something more manly? So far so good. Evidently my formula is Man-food approved.
Besides potentially being the quickest food. real quick ever, this salad packs a ton of flavor with practically no work. Roquefort cheese and melon will do it. But a chiffonade of basil makes it even better. "Chiffo-what?" asks the Man who hates it when I pronounce French words correctly. I can't help it. He thinks I'm a snob for calling a croissant "quoi-sanh" instead of "chris-sanT" but I spent too many years sitting in French class to purposefully pronounce it with an American accent.
But back to the chiffonade- it's essentially the only task you have to think about, and is simply slicing basil (or any leafy thing) into thin strips in order to release its flavor. The best way to do this is to stack the leaves on top of each other, about 8 in a pile, and roll them lengthwise into a cylinder before slicing across with a sharp knife. This helps prevent bruising since it's easier to slice through. Plus I love the smell and sound of my knife cutting through a roll of basil leaves. So satisfying. Your olfactory and auditory senses will have a field day. Take that for elevated speech, honey!
CANTALOUPE BASIL SALAD
- 5 ounces arugula
- 3 cups cantaloupe, cubed
- 1/2 cup packed basil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- a splash of Saba Mosto d'Uva
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup roquefort cheese, crumbled
Add the arugula and cantaloupe to a salad bowl. Chiffonade your basil leaves, and toss them in the mix. Whisk together the lime juice, Saba, olive oil, a large pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over your arugula mixture, and toss to coat. Garnish with the roquefort and toss again. Done!