Looking for a great way to enjoy cantaloupe and honeydew this summer? We’ve got a couple ideas. Start by checking out our handy dandy
melon summer produce guide, which will help you with everything from how to pick a ripe one to a little historical context. Then check out our best melon cocktails. Our favorite? The Bala de Canon, which is basically summer in a glass. Or if you’re in the mood for something more savory, try stir-frying some bitter melon with tofu and pork belly. And of course we’ve got plenty of ideas for a melon-y dessert. No matter what course you’re looking at, melons are the perfect way to enjoy the summer.
This over-the-top architectural dessert (also known as brick toast) is popular in tea shops and casual restaurants in Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. The dish is meant to be shared with a friend (or three) and the more color, texture, and height the better, so don’t skimp on the garnishes. Cookies, seasonal fruit, and candy are typical ingredients, but sprinkles, nuts, and flavored syrups are not unheard of.
Get the recipe for Shibuya Honey Toast »
In Thailand a strongly flavored stir-fry such as this one would be considered more a condiment than a vegetable dish, and should be served with plenty of hot jasmine rice. Bitter melon is available year-round in Asian markets.
Get the recipe for Stir-Fried Bitter Melon and Shrimp with Fermented Black Beans »
Get the recipe for Bitter Melon and Tofu Stir-Fry with Pork Belly and Eggs (Goya Champuru) »
This unusual Santa Claus melon tart makes for the perfect summer dessert. A bright melon curd fills an almond crust, topped with fresh slices of the fruit.
Get the recipe for Santa Claus Melon Tart »
The simple pairing of cantaloupe and port could be found on the menu of any classic mid-century French restaurant. The best melon to use is the French Charentais, which is small and slightly acidic (though still sweet), but it’s just as good with a musk or hand melon or cantaloupe.
Like apple butter, melons can be cooked down to a jammy, spreadable condiment, as in this recipe from chef Silvia Baldini of
Strawberry and Sage. Spread it on toast tomorrow morning or save it (via proper canning technique) for a pork chop in the dead of winter.
Tequila, agave nectar, and cantaloupe purée get shaken up in this summery cocktail from Houston’s
The Pastry War. Get the recipe for Bala de Canon »
Test kitchen director Farideh Sadeghin got the recipe for this refreshing melon drink from her Iranian-born father, who makes it by grating fresh cantaloupe and combining it with water, sugar, and fresh mint. You can add a little gin for a cooling summer cocktail.
Get the recipe for Persian Cantaloupe Drink »
In this elegant dessert, cantaloupe is grilled until it caramelizes and is then dressed with agrodolce, a sour-sweet Italian sauce made by reducing vinegar and sugar.
Get the recipe for Grilled Cantaloupe with Peach Agrodolce »
Indian thandai, literally translated as ‘something that cools’, is a sweet, creamy milk drink flavored with nuts and mixed with spices such as cardamom, fennel, rose petals, and poppy seeds. On Holi, the Indian festival of colors, the refreshment is traditionally served with the addition of bhaang (a derivative of marijuana). Here we’ve substituted gin instead, which accentuates the nutty, warmly-spiced, floral flavors in thandai perfectly.
A sprinkle of sea salt enhances the sweetness of cantaloupe marinated in honey and spices.
Get the recipe for Black Pepper and Honey-Marinated Cantaloupe with Basil »
This tequila and cantaloupe cocktail from Edinburgh’s
The Lucky Liquor Co. is refreshing and fruity, making it the perfect summer drink. Get the recipe for Calavera Catrina »
Wedges of gooey fried Camembert are served with both a sweet wine-spiked raspberry jam and a tart cranberry vinaigrette in this dish.
The extracted juice from bitter melons takes the place of common bittering agents, such as Campari, in this floral, lime-punched cocktail.
Get the recipe for Green Gin Cocktail »
One of the most popular snacks on the streets of Mexico is fresh fruit dusted with chile powder. The flavors and aromas of that snack are brought back in this tequila-based drink.
Video: How to Cut A Melon