While growing up, I could always count on seeing a bright yellow plastic melon baller nestled in the back corner of my mom's kitchen utensil drawer. It stood out among countless wine openers, toothpicks, random metal skewers and an egg slicer. That melon baller couldn't help but look pitiful & needy from lack of use. Whenever we bought a melon (which was almost never) that melon baller would come out and I'd be overly excited to use it. Precursor to my adulthood? A month ago I was helping my mom clean out some of her kitchen drawers and she offered up the infamous yellow melon baller. It was almost as if she was daring me to use it. I gladly accepted the challenge and when I flipped through the Heart of the Artichoke cookbook, low and behold I found a recipe that required melon balling action!
I'd like to say that my melon balling went swimmingly; it did not. I was under the impression that a melon baller will give you perfectly round spheres of fruit. I was mistaken. After I hacked up half of the cantaloupe, I walked up to my computer and immediately started watching melon balling videos on youtube (they totally exist!). What I gathered is that you can't make a perfect melon ball; one edge is almost always slightly messed up, flat or has shreds of melon meat hanging off of it. If you have enough melon balls to cover a dish and present the nice round sides up to the world, no one will be the wiser. Top the half perfect melon balls with with cut mint leaves and generously squeeze lime juice on top and you have a fancy salad. After you take your first bite of juicy sweet melon with the lime & mint, you'll forget about imperfections. You'll marvel at how perfectly balanced the salad is and you'll feel like you've satisfied your sweet tooth while cleansing your palette. This salad is the perfect end to a delicious meal.
What have we learned here today? A melon baller that doesn't get used is a very sad melon baller indeed. Bust out your melon baller, it needs you!
And we're off!
Melons, lime, mint? Check.
Underused bright yellow melon baller? Check.
Melon balling action? Check.
Juice of a whole lime? Check.
Scattered chopped mint leaves? Check.
Closeup of tasty goodness? Check.
Are you ready to dig in? Check.
A salad that will make your breath smell awesome? Check.
Melon & Mint Salad
(recipe slightly adapted from Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis)
- 1 small cantaloupe
- 1 small honeydew melon
- 1 lime, halved
- handful mint leaves
Cut the melons in half, remove seeds and make melon balls with a melon baller. If you don't have a melon baller (sad face!), you can cut the melon into bite sized-chunks. Put melon balls in a serving dish and refrigerate until cold. Just before serving, squeeze fresh lime juice over the melon & toss. Cut the mint leaves into slivers and scatter over the melons, tossing lightly.