“I now know how to answer the question: If you had to eat the same thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? BURMESE MELON SALAD. Hands. Down.” My friend Ashley wrote in response to my review of the Saban Clinic’s Extravaganza of the Senses last week.
I chuckled at her enthusiasm – clearly an exaggeration – but agreed that, yes, I did want to eat a vat of it. And then another vat.
Street Restaurant’s offering at the Extravaganza had blown both of us away with its unique flavors and textures, and despite the wide array of selections at the event – including a slider from 25 Degrees and some addictive jicama shrimp tacos from Reservoir – it was our favorite item of the night. Both of us agreed that we would have been perfectly content popping a squat next to Street’s booth with huge bowls of just that salad.
After Ashley and I went back for our third bowls of the refreshing dish, we tried to pry the recipe out of the representatives from Street. They told us there was ginger, lime juice and sesame seeds involved, but didn’t elaborate beyond that. I left the event thinking I would have to go back to the restaurant in order to get another fix of our beloved Burmese Melon Salad.
The next day, however, I was shocked to find the recipe had been published in the June issue of Oprah Magazine – a magazine I regularly read for work. I eagerly printed it out and made plans to make the salad the following weekend.
While the recipe in Oprah is not quite the same as the version Ashley and I enjoyed so much at the Saban Extravaganza, it was still as addicting as it was at the event. I ate the entire vat for lunch on Saturday, and then another vat for dinner on Sunday night with some quinoa and shrimp on the side. I might not want to eat the salad for the rest of my life like Ashley, but I would certainly be okay with eating it for the rest of this summer.
Street’s Burmese Melon Salad with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette
Adapted from recipe in June 2010 issue of Oprah Magazine
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut chips (I found them at Whole Foods)
½ tablespoon white sesame seeds
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon sugar
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Kosher salt to taste
1 cup melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, and/or watermelon), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup shredded green cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons mixture of chopped basil and cilantro
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add coconut and toast it, stirring often, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
To make dressing: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds to skillet and toast, stirring constantly, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon peanut oil and ginger; cook, stirring often, until very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large, heatproof bowl and whisk in lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar; set aside.
Heat remaining teaspoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 30 seconds. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
To make salad: Combine dressing, melon, peanuts, herbs, coconut, cabbage, and shallots; salt to taste. Toss well; serve immediately.