Monday, September 19, 2011

Snake Melon & Heirloom Tomato Salad

A friend recently gifted me a snake melon aka an Armenian cucumber. I looked at it, long and thin with pale green, ribbed skin, and said thanks and then wondered "what the hell do I do with this??" But, I like cucumber, which is what this (botanically speaking) melon tastes like and so I was pretty sure I could come up with something. I stuck it in my fridge and forgot about it for approximately a week.

Then I saw it again the other evening. It lay, accusingly it seemed, in my crisper (still crisp, by the way) and so I pulled it out. I'd picked up cheap, organic, heirloom cherry tomatoes from a local farmers market the day before and I resolved I'd put the cuke and the tomatoes together and come up with something to dress them up a bit.

Armenian Cuke aka Snake Melon
Armenian cucumbers, as I said before, are actually melons--muskmelons, to be exact, which puts them as a close relative to what Americans call cantaloupe. The Armenian cucumber is reputed to get a good slicing cuke (whatever that means--I don't think I've had an experience I would call "bad" slicing cucumber) and came from Armenia to Italy in the 15th century, at least according to one of the website I found online while researching this post. It's gaining popularity as an heirloom crop and supposedly grows well both on the ground and from trellises. All of this is wonderful, but there are almost no recipes for it online.

Here, I must admit I like Greek food. A lot. And although I only live a few blocks from a Greek restaurant, I don't think eating-out Greek food is in my near future. So, I poked through my spices and dried herbs, and as I already knew, I didn't have dill weed. Okay, new plan. Kinda. I wasn't ready to give up on my plans for Greeking-up my Armenian cucumber.

So, I chopped the Armenian cucumber and halved the tomatoes, then topped them with a locally-made European style yogurt, then gave it just a sprinkle of onion powder and black pepper. Greek? No. Delicious. I think so. I'm going to see if my friend has more of these cucumbers she'd be willing to part with -- something tells me, the way cucumbers grow (all ready all at the same time) she probably does.

Snake Melon (Armenian Cucumber) & Heirloom Tomato Salad
1 snake melon, approximately 24" long, quartered & chopped
15-20 heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup plain European-style yogurt (this is a thin, runny yogurt), or to taste
Onion powder
Ground black pepper

Put the chopped snake melon and cherries in a bowl, then drizzle the yogurt on top. Sprinkle a dash of onion powder and a dash of black pepper, then toss gently and serve.

Serves 1-2.

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