Melon and manchego salad recipe

Recipe by Neil Morris

manchego-salad-recipe

Region: The Basque Country

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Difficulty: easy

Serves: 2

veg

(Please note: Some Manchego Cheese may not be suitable for vegetarians - please check and if necessary use an alternative cheese such as a mild cheddar for your vegetarian guests)

This Melon and Manchego Salad recipe was inspired by a Basque dish and is a good example of simple but modern Basque Country cooking. In terms of ingredients and presentation, it is a fusion of French, Catalonian and Spanish (La Mancha) styles and can be reproduced easily at home with impressive results. It would make a great starter or can be served in greater quantities in a more rustic style as a refreshing summer side-salad.

Shopping list

  • half a cucumber (la mitad de un pepino)
  • a few poppy seeds (semillas de amapola)
  • 1 piel de sapo melon or similar such as galia or cantaloup (el melón piel de sapo)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes (tomates cherry)
  • manchego cheese (queso manchego)
  • a few flaked almonds (almendras fileteadas)
  • fresh mint (menta fresca)
  • extra virgin olive oil (aceite de oliva virgen extra)
  • red wine vinegar (vinagre de vino tinto)
  • salt (sal)
  • freshly ground black pepper (pimienta recién molida negro)

Method

Very lightly toast the poppy seeds in a medium frying pan and put to one side (be careful not to burn). Then do the same with the almonds.

Slice the cucumber as thinly as possible (using a mandoline makes this easier) and arrange in rectangle layers on the plate. Sprinkle with a few of the toasted poppy seeds.

Scoop the flesh of the melon into small half-spheres and trim neatly, then place the melon pieces on top of the cucumber along with some cherry tomatoes halves. Try and be as delicate as possible to achieve the desired presentation.

Carefully place thin slices of the cheese amongst the melon and tomatoes and then place a few toasted almond flakes randomly over the dish.

Pick a few of the smallest mint leaves from the centre of the sprigs and trim neatly. Then place some of the leaves over the dish but don't use too many.

Finally mix 3 tbsp of the olive oil with 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar and season to taste. Spoon some of the dressing very carefully over the salad and then use a kitchen towel to wipe away any spillages.

Serve this delicious melon and manchego salad recipe as a starter with some crusty bread on the side.

Alternative

As an alternative you could also add a few thin slices of serrano ham to elevate this manchego salad recipe from a starter to a light lunch.

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