During the summer, when produce tastes amazing on its own, I find that there is no need to add a lot of seasonings or make elaborate sauces. Letting the intense flavors of summer shine is the way to go when you have access to good, seasonal produce. This recipe for tomato and cantaloupe salad with basil is a prime example of that philosophy. I received cantaloupe and basil from my CSA crop-share last week and combined it with a few tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market for a simple, delicious and healthy summer salad. A sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil help to bring out the flavors even more, and add a savory touch to the salad.
Serve this tomato and cantaloupe salad at a picnic or summer BBQ, as it travels well and goes with almost any summer menu. Add cubes of fresh mozzarella to make this more of a caprese-style salad.
I made this tomato and cantaloupe salad as a side dish for a family picnic with our friends Rachel and Bob and their two adorable kids. They invited us over for a sunset dinner on their rooftop terrace on the Upper West Side. The menu that we put together included hummus and veggies, hand-made hot dogs from Brooklyn Cured on whole wheat buns, chipotle cabbage slaw, quinoa salad with goat cheese and toasted walnuts, citrus beet salad, tomato and cantaloupe salad with basil, and lots of mustard (Rachel put out 3 different kinds – she knows how I love mustard). We always have a great time and eat well with Rachel and Bob, who also have a crop-share and love to cook.
Make this salad in the summer when tomatoes and cantaloupe are in season. Add cubes of fresh mozzarella to make this more of a caprese-style salad. Serve it at a picnic or summer BBQ, as it travels well and goes with almost any summer menu.
- 1 cantaloupe, cut into 1" cubes
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1" cubes
- 8 leave of basil
- 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
- pinch of salt
- fresh-ground pepper, to taste
- Stack the basil leave and roll them tightly into the shape of a cigar. Slice the basil perpendicular (cutting across the roll), creating thin strips. Toss cantaloupe, with basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Cantaloupe can be cut in advance and refrigerated along with basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes up to an hour before serving and keep at room temperature, or serve immediately (refrigerating the tomatoes will harm their favor and texture).