Today was one of those days when the wind was gently blowing and thick billowy clouds filled the skies. The rain still hasn’t arrived but the conditions leading up to it made it ideal for outdoor play. We spent hours outside: a trip to the zoo with friends, then pool time (for some) and conversations in the gazebo (for others). The day came and went too quickly, and by the time dinner came was approaching we were faced with the dilemma of what to cook.
Although, I guess it wasn’t that much of a dilemma because dinner was amazing using only what we had on hand.
Two days ago I scored some amazingly ripe cantaloupe from the Farmer’s Market for $1.50 a piece (I love the gruff farmers in Greenbrier, whose sales pitches go something like this: “I don’t want to take them home, so get ‘em off my hands.”) I challenged myself to incorporate this into our dinner. A found this recipe for Spinach Cantaloupe Salad and just knew it was meant to be.
Smoked salmon was calling to us and it didn’t take much to convince the room full of men to chop wood and prepare the fish.
Meanwhile I went to work in the kitchen (no woman jokes here, please!) working on a modified version of the recipe that I saw [scroll down below to get my recipe]. I started with fresh, tart apples. Garlic. Backyard picked mint. The fresh ingredients created such a cool, invigorating flavor.
As always, fresh ingredients are really key here. Our melons were ripe with a strong aroma and a sweet taste. The texture was firm but juicy with a lot of give. Store bought fruit is no comparison, so don’t even attempt to try this recipe out of season!
Chop up the spinach and combine it with the fruit. Toss with dressing. Avocado. Salt and pepper.
We served this as our dinner, paired with the delicious smoked salmon. The combination of sweet and tart with the smoky flavors left us satiated but feeling light, not weighed down and sloppy. Which is perfect, because I fully intend on making another batch for “second dinner”!
Oh… and by the time I’m finished writing this, the rain has finally begun. A perfect ending to our perfect day!
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 mint leaves
- ½ small tart apple, peeled
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped
- 2 cups fresh cantaloupe, chopped
- 1 avocado
- Optional: Salt and pepper to taste.
- To prepare the dressing, combine ingredients in a food processor.
- Pulse until well blended.
- Dressing will be thick and creamy.
- Mix spinach and cantaloupe in a large bowl.
- Toss with dressing.
- When ready to serve, top with avocado and salt and pepper to taste.