*This post was created in partnership with California Walnuts. I have loved working with them this year to bring you some season-inspired recipes with walnuts as the star. As always, the words, images and recipes are mine.
There’s always a moment at the end of summer when I see the slightest shift of color on the leaves, or feel a brief chill in the air and then that’s it, I’m ready for fall. That moment hasn’t happened yet.
We’re still squeezing every last drop of sunshine out of summer. In fact, we’re currently on a road trip right now that will bring us the home mere hours before the first day of school. We’re dipping our toes into rivers so cold our feet instantly numb. We’re eating the sort of food that one does when on a road trip and making memories all along the way. We’re making the absolute most of summer and it feels exactly right.
I know that moment will come, as it always does. In that instant I’ll be ready to braise, roast and sip on long simmered soups once again. For now I’m still craving the tart, sweet pop of cherry tomatoes and the candy-like juices that dribble down my chin and arms while biting into a pillow soft peach. And melon salads that tips towards the savory with the help of a pungent red onion and peppery olive oil. Candied walnuts add crunch and depth of flavor while fresh lime juice brings an addictive zip.
The walnuts here are deeply toasted then coated in a simple caramel. If you feel a bit adventurous add a few chili flakes or smoked paprika to the caramel to teeter the line of sweet and savory. Either way this salad is a simple reminder that summer still lingers on.
Melon Salad with Candied Walnuts and Lime
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves
1 small honeydew melon
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
Toast the walnuts in a 350°F oven until fragrant and deepened in color. Put the walnuts in a large heatproof bowl but keep a parchment lined sheet pan nearby.
Add the sugar to a small saucepan set over high heat. Melt the sugar until deeply caramelized, it will start smoking lightly. Swirl the pan or stir to caramelize evenly.
Working quickly pour the caramel over the walnuts then stir to evenly coat. Once coated immediately dump the walnuts to the sheet pan and separate with a fork. The caramel hardens very quickly. Add a hefty pinch of flake salt then let cool.
Once cool, transfer the walnuts to a cutting board then roughly chop.
Remove the seeds and peel from the melon then shave into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler. You can also cut into cubes if you prefer.
Transfer the melon to a platter then add the sliced red onion. Squeeze the lime all over the top, drizzle with olive oil then add the walnuts. Finish with flake salt.
For a more substantial salad add arugula, sliced endive or treviso.