This recipe screams that spring is here! It is fresh and colorful, making it just as pretty to look at as it is delicious to eat.
Technique tip: Be sure to control the heat for the butter mixture. Don't let it come to a rapid boil. You want to keep it just at the simmering point to ensure it emulsifies and doesn't break. Take your time and be patient.
Swap option: Honeydew would be great sub here. You could also swap the mint for basil.
- 1/2 small cantaloupe melon, peeled, seeds removed and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Calabrian chili paste
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
- Ricotta salata, shaved with a vegetable peeler (optional)
For the melon salad:
1. Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
2. Drizzle the cantaloupe with the olive oil and place on the hot grill pan. Grill without moving for about 30 seconds or until browned on the first side. Flip the melon and grill on the other side for an additional 30 seconds. Remove to a cutting board to cool slightly.
3. Cut the cooled melon into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes, mint, salt, chili paste and lime juice. Mix well with a spoon and set aside to let the flavors mingle.
For the asparagus:
Meanwhile, heat the water in a large skillet over medium heat. When bubbles just start rising to the surface, begin adding the butter to the pan 1 tablespoon at a time whisking constantly to form an emulsion. When all the butter is incorporated, reduce the heat to medium low to keep the temperature just below a simmer. Add the thyme and salt and swirl the pan to combine. Add the asparagus to the pan and toss gently to coat in the butter. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender all the way through when poked with the tip of a knife.
Remove the asparagus to a platter and spoon some of the melon salad over the top. Top with a few shavings of ricotta salata if desired. Serve with additional salad on the side.