Melon's Potential Realized
  By Nina Rubin and Liz Warton

With such intense flavors and perfumed aromas, the culinary potential of melons is often underestimated. Melons can be puréed, pickled, boiled and baked to complement a variety of seafood and meat dishes.
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Chef Dante Boccuzzi of Aureole – New York, NY
6 Spice Rubbed Lobster with Pickled and Seared Watermelon
» American Red Snapper and Kiwano Melon, Sautéed Chinese Melon and Lobster Mushrooms
Cantaloupe Carpaccio with White Balsamic, Duck Prosciutto and Arugula Salad
Coriander Rubbed Duck and Foie Gras with Gingered Honeydew Melon Compote » Monkfish and Pork Belly with Casaba Melon Gelee



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 menu.


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   Published: July 2006