The familiar cantaloupe and honeydew belong to the muskmelon
family, which also includes the lesser known casaba, crenshaw,
winter, and Spanish melon. Discovered over 4000 years ago
in Persia, their popularity quickly spread to China, Egypt,
Greece, Italy and was brought to America by the pilgrims.
Watermelon has also been eaten for centuries and originated
in southern Africa where it was considered an excellent source
of water for indigenous people. This seed-filled fruit is
loosely considered a melon, belonging to a different family
that includes squash and cucumbers.
To Americans, watermelon is the ultimate
summer treat, but food professionals consider it inferior
to other types of melon in taste and texture. China, being
the biggest watermelon producer, utilizes every element in
cooking—they roast the seeds, pickle the rinds, stir-fry
the flesh, and even make melon soup.
Chef Dante Boccuzzi spent several years working in Taiwan
and Hong Kong, where he learned how to tame the sourness of
Chinese melon and turn it into a sweet accompaniment used
in dishes like his American
Red Snapper. His recipes call for six different melon
varieties to compliment the most decadent ingredients including
lobster and foie gras. Now executive chef at Aureole
in New York, Boccuzzi continues to showcase melon on his summer