A Favorite Fruit
For many years my favorite fruit was cantaloupe. I couldn't get enough of its soft pastel flesh. I loved the texture and the deep sweetness, the way it could be scooped into perfectly rounded orbs with a melon baller, the way it holds up to dressings, the way it smells when perfectly ripe and fragrant.
In Texas it was an extremely practical relationship. Cantaloupe was abundant there, even hard to overcome. It grew in my garden as a volunteer, the seed lingering in the compost heat beyond all reason. In Texas cantaloupe were inexpensive and prolific. My children loved them. Our pet box turtle loved them. They were a staple in our summer diet.
Then we moved. Here it's not that they are hard to get but they are not as ubiquitous as in Texas and are often a different variety than the ones I learned to love there. Here I eat them less frequently and it is harder to find them farm fresh and perfectly ripe. Still, when I can find them perfectly ripe and for a reasonable price I thoroughly enjoy them.
Last summer I made a great salsa from the delicious local blueberries that are so fresh and abundant for a time each summer. It was a great discovery, a sort of culinary revelation. While I love tortilla chips and fruit I had never thought much about making fruit salsas before. My mind began to race. What other salsas could I make to take advantage of the fruits that I love. An impromptu trip to a local market gave me a few unplanned purchases to work with. One of them was a beautiful ripe cantaloupe. As I cut the cantaloupe for my family's breakfast I began to think about what a nice salsa it would make. On my next pass by the market I bought a serrano pepper and some jicama. At home I had cilantro and an orange bell pepper so I chopped and mixed and experimented until I came up with this pleasing combination.
2 cups cantaloupe, diced
1 cup jicama, cut in small matchsticks
½ yellow, orange or red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno or Serrano chile, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ - ½ cup minced shallots or finely sliced green onion
Stir together. Allow flavors to blend for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips.