It took me half a cantaloupe to get the hang of making melon balls. They aren’t something that’s ever shown up on the menu chez moi, but I’ve only recently begun to appreciate melons. Melon wedges on a fruit tray, yes. Proscuitto wrapped around a slice of melon, certainly. But in my mind, melon balls are fare for a 1960’s country club buffet, piled in pyramids atop shaved ice in a silver dish. Or a cut glass dish on a silver salver. Something like that.
This probably influenced my thinking when I made this week’s melon-berry soup. I kept imagining it presented as though for a wedding supper or an awards banquet. I settled on some pretty etched glasses. A nod to the elegance I’d imagined, with the practicality required of a dish served in the living room. I was making next week’s Coconut Lemongrass-Braised Pork for dinner and thought that this soup would make a nice prelude to the curried sweetness of the stew.
The soup is simply pureed cantaloupe mixed with lime juice and grated ginger, then seasoned with a little salt. After the soup, melon balls and strawberries have chilled for a few hours, the dish is assembled and topped with a sprig of mint. You may add a tablespoon of sweet wine if you like, though I didn’t this time. I think the only thing I’d add to this is a good grinding of pepper. I think that would contrast well with the sweet-tartness of the rest of the dish.
I was at my parents’ house and gave my father his soup while I took photos of the other portions. My mother was playing food stylist/photographer’s assistant, bringing out many of her lovely, eclectic dishes for me to try and then holding up a white piece of card to make the most of the evening light. My Dad came into the kitchen to tell us that he liked the soup so much he’d gladly eat the rest. That’s an excellent endorsement, in my estimation.
I think there are lots of jumping off points for this recipe: ice pops, cocktails, granitas – just make sure you include the melon balls. They’re the best part.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Cold Melon-Berry Soup