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Melon Balls with Fresh Mint

Nothing surpasses the fragrant, sweet flavor of a ripe melon, but finding a good one can be tricky. Most melons are at their best from early summer to mid-fall. For a pretty presentation of this dessert, use a variety of melons in an array of colors. Orange-fleshed cantaloupe and pale green honeydew should have a strong, sweet aroma; as they ripen they become softer and the blossom ends give slightly when pressed. Juicy, red-fleshed watermelons should sound hollow when thumped, and the white patch on one side should be small.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 ripe melons, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, Crenshaw, casaba or watermelon, or a combination 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. sugar 
  • 12 fresh mint leaves 

Directions:

Cut the melons in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop the melon flesh into balls, gently tapping the handle of the utensil on the edge of a bowl to release the fruit. You should have about 6 cups total.

Place the melon balls in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt and sugar to taste.

Stack the mint leaves on top of one another, roll lengthwise into a cigar shape and slice crosswise as thinly as possible to make a chiffonade. Sprinkle the mint chiffonade over the melon balls and stir to mix.

Spoon the melon balls into 6 goblets and serve cool but not cold. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Fruit Dessert, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2004).