Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grilled Asparagus & Rock Melon Salad - Quick & Easy # 6

Asparagus & Rock Melon Salad1, cropped

This week at I Heart Cook Clubs we are having one of our monthly Pot Lucks, and of course we continue to cook with Giada de Laurentiis.  What to contribute was a real "no brainer" for me - it's spring here in New Zealand, so it just had to be asparagus in some form or another (which you already know is my most favourite vegetable), and for a quick mid-week meal this salad really appealed.  This was truly the work of moments, and utterly delicious.  My only disappointment was my melon, which was a little under-ripe and a bit lacking in flavour, which was to be expected really as it is still a bit early in the season for melon.  This is a little sad, as the flavour combination of the asparagus with rock melon (you might call it honeydew where you live) is great, and I can imagine that with a beautifully ripe, juicy, fragrant melon this would be divine.  I'm definitely going to try this again in December when we will still have a bit of asparagus around, but will hopefully have better rock melon about as well ... "asparagus Gods" willing this would be a great addition to a southern hemisphere Christmas meal.

You don't need to be precise about quantities for this.  I'm going to give you the quantities I used to make a meal for one person, and of course you could increase any of the quantities to make it a meal for more, or maybe you could serve this as part of a buffet or multi-course meal.  (You can find the original recipe here.)

Grilled Asparagus & Rock Melon Salad
Adapted from a recipe by
For vegetarian option omit prosciutto/bacon

6-8 asparagus stalks
olive oil for grilling
2 slices prosciutto (or bacon)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
flaky sea salt & freshly ground pepper

rock melon, peeled, de-seeded, & cubed
mozzarella or bocconcini, cubed
(I used homemade mizithra, post to follow)

toasted pine nuts
(I used roasted hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).  At the same time set a grill pan over high heat.

Place slices of prosciutto or bacon on a baking pan in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven until crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels.

Place the asparagus spears on the preheated grill, drizzle with a little olive oil, tossing to coat, and sprinkle over some flaky sea salt & pepper.  Grill for a few minutes, turning from time to time, until tender, but still a little crispy.  Remove from grill and arrange on a platter.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the lemon juice with the extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and whisk until well combined.  Add the melon and the mozzarella to the bowl, and toss until everything is well coated with the dressing.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the melon and mozzarella and arrange on top of the asparagus.   Crumble the crispy prosciutto or bacon and nuts over the top, and drizzle any remaining dressing over the top.

Asparagus & Rock Melon Salad 2, edited

Interested in getting to know Giada a bit better?  Then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up ....


.... or check out Giada's Kitchen and many of her other titles, available from Amazon, Book Depository UK and Fishpond NZ

Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites    Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California    Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes


  1. For some reason, I just cannot wrap my mind around the fact it's Spring where you are, lol. We're just thinking about breaking out the winter coats here!! Actually they're calling for snow flurries Friday night only about 90 minutes north of here. Which has nothing to do with your post, sorry. I've never had grilled asparagus but my favourite way to eat them is roasted. I'm thinking it's similar. And I adore prosciutto. And I adore Giada (don't tell Heather). What a lovely recipe, thank you for sharing. I would eat this in the spring or the fall! Delish!

  2. Yummy salad. I like all the ingredients...very interesting and different. This sounds great!

  3. That's a delightful salad you share with us Sue !
    I'm also looking forward your post about mizithra !

  4. Wow this looks really good Sue. I love asparagus, too. And you are quite the cheesemaker, btw! Also, I'm glad you explained what rock melon was as I'd never heard it called that. I learned something new today!


  5. This is such a wonderful dish--I am definitely tagging this one to make--yum! I love mizithra and can't wait to hear about your homemade version.

  6. Sue - I'm so happy that you made this recipe! I have had my eye on it for awhile and I will definitely be making it when springs rolls around. I think the flavors and textures in this one would be a very welcome surprise. It looks like a beauty!

  7. What a colorful n delicious salad..lovely combo of ingredients!!
    First time here ..I like your space :)

    US Masala

  8. Oh, how I miss fresh asparagus! This dish looks so delicious - I love rock melon - I can hardly get enough of either of them when they are in season.

  9. We are still getting asparagus but it's not as nice as our Spring variety. And you have Spring now! Love your plating by the way, very nice dish!

  10. Hi Brenda - it does rather feel as though I'm swimming against the tide when I'm cooking asparagus, and everywhere else I look everyone's cooking pumpkin :-) I love roasted asparagus too - tastes very similar. Just between you and me, I think Heather is starting to warm to Giada :-)

    Thanks, Karen - yes this is a really lovely, fresh combination of ingredients.

    Vanille - thank you, and thanks for visiting - mizithra post coming very soon, I promise.

    Hi Veronica - we seem to call quite a few things by different names down here. We also call arugula - rocket, and we call cilantro - coriander, and I'm sure there are lots more.

    Thanks Deb - I know you will really likely this and you probably get most of these ingredients all year round where you are. Mizithra post (and some examples of how I've been using it) will be up soon.

    Hi Kim - yes, keep this one bookmarked, I know you'll love it.

    Aipi - thank you so much dropping in - it is a lovely combination of ingredients - good colours, tastes and textures. Hope you enjoyed your first visit here and that you'll come again :-)

    Christy - I try to have asparagus nearly every day while it's in season - like you I really miss them when they're gone :-( Rock melon I love too, but to be honest we seldom get really good ones here - just don't think it really gets hot enough for them to get that real flavour and juiciness. I always gorge myself on them whenever I go to Australia or to Asia.

    Pierce - thank you so much. Wow you must have a really long asparagus season. Ours will pretty much run out by December, but in the meantime I will make the most of it :-)


  11. Asparagus and melon, what an interesting combination! Well, I love them both, fantastic flavours!

  12. Hi kitchen flavours - thanks so much - they really do work well together.


  13. Spring, lucky you! That dish does sound perfect for spring, and the fresh, brightness of it is also perfect.

  14. Indie.Tea - thank you so much for visiting. Yes, this definitely is a great dish for spring :-)

  15. Oh you are totally making me miss asparagus now that it's not in season! I am so bookmarking this for spring. What a great combination of flavors!

  16. A lovely spring salad! I would never have thought to pair asparagus with melon. Nice! ☺

  17. oh what a great combination of flavors!

  18. Love Asparagus this is just wonderful, loving being on ur space!

  19. Hi Joanne - yes save that bookmark - you will definitely want to make this when spring comes around - I found the recipe just after asparagus season finished last year and I dreamed of this salad all winter long.

    Thanks Natashya & Simply Life - the asparagus and melon definitely are a great combo.

    Ananda - thank you so much and thanks for visiting.


  20. The salad looks good. I really wish Giada's recipes were a bit more seasonal. Here in New England, I could never dream of having both asparagus AND ripe sweet melon at the same time--at least not locally-grown of both ingredients. Now, if I replaced the melon with strawberries, now that might be possible...and interesting...Thank you for the post! Enjoy spring!

  21. Spring! You silly girl. You are just like my Donna Hay magazine (except I don't pay a fortune to read you), giving me spring recipes when my mind is wrapped around fall.

  22. Wow, this looks fabulous!! What an interesting combination of flavors and it's stunning to look at as well. I really want to try this one!

  23. Wish it was springtime overhere... What a wonderful combination.

  24. I should not read food blogs when I am hungry and this is just making me more hungry. This dish looks wonderful!

  25. Torviewtoronto - thank you so much.

    Allison - I have much the same problem here in New Zealand. We would never really have locally grown asparagus and ripe melon at the same time - the melon has to be imported, and much as I try to avoid that it makes a delicious occasional treat.

    Pam - that of course is one of the things I love about Donna Hay magazines is that they are always in season for me :-)

    Thanks so much Heather - hope you try it. It is a lovely dish, and I would love to make this for a crowd - I think a generous serving of this on a big platter would look stunning.

    Yvette - I am definitely enjoying spring time - asparagus, fennel and artichokes are so welcome after the months of root vegetables and heavier foods.

    Cook of the House - thanks for visiting and your lovely comment. Reading food blogs when you're hungry is just cruel isn't it - like going to the supermarket when you're hungry!

    Sue :-)


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