Minty Melon Manchego Salad
Before we set sail for Half Moon Bay, I did a gigantic farmers market run. I brought home pounds of our favorite meats, cheese and dozens of summer vegetables at their peak. There’s an animalistic reaction in me I often experience when I am moving from one place to the next to stock up on food. As if perhaps there won’t be a bounty of food in the next town?
Not too long ago on the scale of time, this was the case, so I understand my desire to stockpile, but I do try to counteract my impulse a bit these days. It took me a few days to find, but New Lead Market in Half Moon Bay is fabulous! I was so excited to find melons from Happy Boy Farms and mint from Route 1 Farms. I happened to put these ingredients side-by-side when they got home and the flavors started flowing into each other in my mind.
When I eat fruit, I try to eat it on a fairly empty stomach to aid in the digestion of fruits natural sugars. I also like to combine it with healthy fats and fiber, which also helps to digest it.
This salad was the best salad I’ve ever made. I wished the bowl was bottomless. I made another the next day and stocked up on ingredients to make more so I could make it again once we arrived to Santa Cruz. (There I go acting like Santa Cruz won’t have mints or melons… sigh.) I’m sure I’ll find even more amazing local ingredients in Santa Cruz that will inspire more creations.
The bee pollen is entirely optional but I do love the flavor combination of melon and pollen. The bright yellow color pop and health benefits are welcome too.
This salad is practically a meal in itself but it would go excellently with roast chicken or a dense, dark bread.
7 oz spinach
1/3 of a piel de sapo melon (honeydew would work too)
20 mint leaves
6 oz raw manchego (or other raw hard sheeps milk cheese)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
bee pollen (optional)
De-seed melon and chop into approximately half inch cubes. Place spinach in serving bowl. Tear mint leaves into quarters and mix with salad. Crunch walnuts int the palms of your hand until they are a size comfortable to bite into. Cut manchego thinly. A mandolin is ideal for this task but really, you can cut it anyway that works for you.
In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and toss. Add melon, manchego and walnuts. Toss until just combined. Top with bee pollen if you wish.