You Can Do What with Melons? Mama G. (aka Leann Grunwald) whips up a fresh idea in North Valley Magazine
Sautéing, from the French sauté meaning “jumped” or “bounced,” references a method of tossing while cooking. It uses small amounts of fat—in this case, heart-healthy fat—in a heavy, wide pan with sloped sides over moderately high heat. For optimal sautéing, ingredients are cut into uniform shapes and sizes to facilitate fast and even cooking. Size does matter when sautéing, so take your time with those cuts!
Food that is sautéed, such as chicken or fish, is browned, which causes residue to form that can then be deglazed to make a sauce. Butter can be used for a sauté, which will add flavor; however, it will burn quickly because of the milk solids in the butter. That’s why I typically prefer using olive oil to sauté. Clarified butter is a great option in many cases, although for this recipe, I use extra-virgin olive oil. The sweet melon with the acidic nuances of red wine vinegar and tangy sharp feta offers a pleasant savory and sweet taste for a fabulous side dish to your next meal.
Fresh Melon Sauté
Yields: 4 side servings
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced into thin, even rounds
2 cups medium-diced cantaloupe and honeydew melon
1 Tbs. fresh basil, cut into stringlike pieces
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
3 Tbs. pistachio, toasted
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add extra-virgin olive oil, then add onion, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, moving the pan continuously.
Add melon and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the melon starts to take on color. Add fresh basil, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook for another minute.
Add red wine vinegar to the pan and toss to combine. Pour mixture onto a serving platter, sprinkle with the cheese and toasted pistachio nuts, and serve immediately.
How to choose a melon: Look for round fruit with no flat spots. A melon should feel firm and heavier than it looks. FYI, the tip of a melon should not be green.
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