Melon salad with fregola, gorgonzola, olives and brazil nuts

Melon salad with fregola, gorgonzola, olives and brazil nuts

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

Fregola is a type of pasta from Sardinia. It comes in varying sizes, but typically consists of semolina dough that has been rolled into tiny 2–3 mm balls, then toasted in the oven. Any type of melon can be used for this recipe as long as it’s sweet and juicy. The choice of cutting it into wedges or cubes is entirely up to you. I find that larger pieces are nicer if you need to add other ingredients, so the melon doesn’t get lost. The cheese adds a lovely salty flavour to the salad but, if you have dairy issues, you can add some sliced Serrano ham instead.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
125g fregola
125ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for folding through the fregola when cooked, and for drizzling
1/2 honeydew melon, seeds removed
1/2 rockmelon, seeds removed
1/2 cup activated brazil nuts
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon verjuice
1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked
1/2 cup kalamata olives, squashed on a board to remove pit
150g gorgonzola

Method

  1. Simmer the fregola in salted boiling water until al dente, then drain and rinse in cold water. Fold through a little olive oil.
  2. Remove the skin from the honeydew melon and rockmelon. Cut the melons into large wedges or cubes.
  3. Break up the brazil nuts a little by putting them on a board and hitting them with a rolling pin.
  4. To make the melon dressing, put 1/2 cup of the melon flesh, a large squeeze of lemon juice, the verjuice, some salt and freshly-ground black pepper, the olive oil and a few of the basil leaves in a jug or tall container and blitz using a hand-held blender until smooth. The dressing should first taste of melon, then have some acidity from the lemon and spiciness from the olive oil.
  5. To serve, scatter the fregola on a platter. In a bowl, toss the remaining melon, the remaining basil leaves, the olives and brazil nuts in the dressing and spoon it over the fregola. Crumble over the gorgonzola or serve it on the side for your friends to add as much as they like. Finish with a good grinding of black pepper and a hit of extra-virgin olive oil.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Melons contain vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that’s essential for keeping teeth, skin, bone and mucous tissue healthy. They’re also high in vitamin C and in potassium, which is so essential for heart health and keeping blood pressure in check. Brazil nuts are packed with vitamins (including E), antioxidants and a whole slew of minerals including selenium (vital for a healthy immune system), for which they’re the highest naturally occurring source.
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