Sweet Melon and Sungold Salad with Candied Peanuts

SERVES: 4-6

Cold melon is the name of the game here–it's what makes this salad sooo dang refreshing, so pop your melon in the fridge an hour or so before you start prepping to chill it down. This recipe makes a LOT of spicy candied peanuts, and that’s because they are addictive and delicious and there’s no reason to make just a handful. Sprinkle them over ice cream, eat them as a snack, serve them with cocktails, etc. You’ll be glad you have them, I promise.

Active Time: 35 Mins

Total Time: 35 mins

Melon and Tomato Salad

Produce

  • 8 ounces Sungold or cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 serrano Chili
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 small bunch basil or cilantro
  • 1 3-pound ripe melon

Pantry

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • ½ cup plus ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  •  flaky sea salt

Protein

  • 1 large egg

1.  Make the candied peanuts:

  • Preheat the oven to 300. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Crack one egg into a large bowl. Separate the yolk from the white, reserving the yolk for another use (caesar dressing?!). Lightly beat the egg white with a whisk until foamy, about 15 seconds. To the beaten egg white, add 3 cups roasted peanuts, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like ‘em spicy!), and 2 ½ teaspoons of salt. Crack a bunch of black pepper into the bowl. Stir well to combine and then spread out onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Roast, stirring once or twice, until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Beware, the nuts at the edges of the baking sheet will brown more quickly so it’s important to stir occasionally. Let cool on the baking sheet.

2. Make the Sungold dressing:

  • Cut 8 ounces of Sungold or cherry tomatoes in half and add to a medium bowl.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, and ¾ teaspoon sugar. Season well with salt.
  • Thinly slice 1 serrano chili and add to the bowl.
  • Thinly slice 3 scallions and pick the leaves of 1 bunch of basil or cilantro. Set these aside for now, we are going to toss them into the tomatoes at the last minute.

3.  Slice the melon and dress the salad:

  • Cut off both ends of 1 melon so you can stand it upright on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut away the outer tough skins of the melon and any green, underripe bits. You should have one whole peeled melon at this point.
  • Cut the melon in half through the root ends. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut each half in half again (lengthwise) and then slice each quarter of melon crosswise into ¼” half moons. To be honest, it doesn’t totally matter how you cut the melon, just get cutting!
  • Transfer the melon to a serving platter, shingling it out as you do. Season the flesh with flaky salt.
  • Add the scallions and basil to the Sungold dressing. Scatter the dressing and all of its juices over the sliced melon.
  • Grab a handful of spiced peanuts and crush them with your hands as you scatter them over the melon. (Save the rest for snacking and other uses!)

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