EyeSwoon

the bite: Cantaloupe & Cucumber Salad with Ricotta Salata

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To say I was excited to return home to my kitchen to create a dish exclusively inspired by Italy would be a vast understatement. So simple in their execution, so vibrant in their flavors, and always with the finest and fewest high quality ingredients — this was my take away with all the food I savored over.

And with that I created this dish — summer cantaloupe, crunchy cucumber, and Lucini premium select olive oil are the stars here. Where sweet fruit flavors unite with crisp veg, and all is unified with the bright green and peppery finish of the organic extra virgin olive oil. I urge you to marry your flavors with simplicity and attention — not all olive oils are created equal, the right one can make a dish sing. You can (and should) highlight various flavors with the addition of a hand crafted olive oil. The almond finish in the Lucini oil directed me to use Marcona almonds for added texture and some Mediterranean spice — making the sum greater that it’s parts! This is my love letter to Italy — a savory salad I’ll be making all summer long.  

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Cantaloupe & Cucumber Salad with Ricotta Salata

Athena Calderone

  • Ingredients

      • 1/2 cantaloupe — seeded, rind removed, sliced into 1/4” half moon slices
      • 4 Persian cucumbers — cut into cubed wedges on the bias
      • 1/4 red onion — sliced thin on mandolin
      • 1 Serrano chili — sliced thin on mandolin
      • 2 limes, zested and juiced
      • 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
      • 1 teaspoon honey
      • 1/3 cup Lucini select blend olive oil, plus more for drizzle
      • 1/2 cup marcona almonds — toasted
      • 1/2 teaspoon sumac, plus more for finishing
      • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
      • Ricotta salata — shaved thin with vegetable peeler
      • Fresh herbs — basil, mint, cilantro
      • Flaky sea salt
      • Fresh pepper
  • Method

    • Salad:

      Build this salad on the plate, from the bottom up. Begin with the cantaloupe half moons and layer cucumbers, red onion, and chili rounds atop. 

      Vinaigrette:

      In a medium bowl combine juice from two limes and zest from one with vinegar and honey. Slowly stream in Lucini olive oil. Season with flaky salt.

      Spiced Marcona:

      In a mortar and pestle combine almonds, sumac, and Aleppo. Smack together to a chunky consistency. Add a drizzle of olive oil, combine. 

      To Finish:

      Drizzle salad with vinaigrette dressing. Finish with a sprinkle of spiced nut mixture, shaved ricotta salata, torn herbs, a sprinkle of sumac, lime zest, salt, and pepper.

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