It seems later than last year and I am told it's thanks to all the rain we had early this spring. I waited patiently (not really) checking the market and grocery store every week for them.
Mauguio Melons. Here in the Herault, they don't get any sweeter.
Grown only a few kilometers from my door, they loll in the fields, ripening in perfect rows, veined, bumpy skin and orange flesh, the summer gourd that tastes as sweet as candy. Or so says the Littlest.
Over in Provence, the sweetest and most fragrant melons are grown in Cavaillon. I made us detour through the town on one of our road trips just to see where the famous melons were grown. They and a 1st century Roman arch are the main attractions.
Be they Mauguio or Cavaillon, the cantaloupe melon means only one thing. Summer. And seeing as this is the day after the Summer Solstice, it's the perfect time for these summer brochettes of cantaloupe, cucumber, goat's cheese, cured ham and mint.
Serve these pretty little skewers as an appetizer at your weekend bbq and watch them disappear. The combination of salty ham and sweet melon is always a favorite. Adding the fresh crunch of cucumber and creamy goat's cheese puts it over the top. You could always use those adorable, round mozzarella balls or chunks of feta if you prefer. (they'll be saltier with feta)
Ma Fille assembled these last night for our starter and I garnished with the mint, fruity olive oil, sea salt and fresh black pepper. Try them. You'll see. Summer has arrived in the South of France.
Cantaloupe Melon & Cucumber Summer Brochettes
1 perfectly ripe, fragrant cantaloupe melon
6-8 (this will depend on the size of your disks) small medium firm disks of fresh goat's cheese
4 slices of cured ham, such as Parma
fruity olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
small, wooden skewers (you can find these at any grocery store, I'm sure)
Halve, seed, peel and cube the melon.
Peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into cubes or chunky half moons.
Leaving your ham in one slab, cut through all four slices vertically, making small layered chunks. Be sure they're not too thick and don't have too much fat in one section though.
If you're using the goat's cheese rounds, simply cut them into quarters, cleaning your knife as you go so it doesn't stick and cause the cheese to crumble. I hope you can find these cheeses in your supermarket. If not, use the firmest goat's cheese you can and cut into chunky pieces.
Now it's just down to assembly. Thread each item, in a row onto the skewer, changing up the order as you like.
Keep them cool in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
At the last minute, roll the fresh mint leaves into a cigar shape and finely slice.
Sprinkle over the brochettes and add a drizzle of the olive oil.
Salt and pepper.
Serve as a starter or as a salad topper.
Welcome, summer. I'm glad you're here.