June 17, 2010
While working on set I meet (and get coffee for) lots of celebrities and I'm rarely ever star struck but put me at an event filled with chefs and I turn into a giddy, red faced groupie.
A few weeks ago while volunteering at the Taste of The Nation Los Angeles event, I came face to face with Susan Feniger, of Border Grill, Street and Top Chef Masters fame, and was reduced to a blithering idiot. The words, "You're so awesome, can I shake your hand," actually came out of my mouth, followed by my dropping a forkful of the Burmese Melon Salad she had just handed me onto her petite feet. So embarrassing. Gracious Master Chef that she is, she sweetly helped me pick up my mess and grabbed me a new fork so that I could continue to enjoy the amazing salad she had made. Luckily the pleasure of eating this refreshing, totally delicious combination of melon, coconut and fresh herbs distracted me from my feelings of humiliation. Also, I later redeemed myself by managing to speak to and shake the hand of Govind Armstrong without making a spectacle of myself.
I've since recovered from my clumsy brush with fame but could not get this salad out of my mind and just had to make it myself. With all its complex flavor it is deceptively simple to make and is quickly becoming my favorite summer salad. I didn't have everything on hand to follow Chef Feniger's recipe exactly but was still able to come pretty close. The original recipe can be found here.
Burmese Melon Salad with Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette
adapted from Susan Feniger's version
1 small tuscan melon (or cantaloupe), seeded and cubed
1/2 a small seedless watermelon, cubed
1/4 cup mixture chopped fresh basil, mint and cilantro
1/3 cup chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts
2 tbs shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approx 2 limes)
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tbsp fish sauce
3/4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Combine melon, herbs, peanuts and coconut in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice, ginger, sugar and fish sauce
Add dressing to salad, toss. For added protein, I topped mine with spicy grilled shrimp.