seeing things from the downside-up and the inside-out:
melon and honey-ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis)
It is the combination of a famous bridge in Paris and a honey bee crashing our dinner party which inspired this week’s simple pleasure: melon and honey – ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis). Also this week, peach and tarragon clafoutis. Both recipes make the most of summer’s end.
The Pont de L’Archêveché is a bridge in the 5th arrondissement in Paris where people have attached locks to the chain-length fence which lines the bridge. People from all over the world leave their mark, their own flag on the moon, indicating that they were here and created memories in the number one tourist destination in the world: Paris.
I have seen this bridge a hundred times. I have crossed it. I have walked past it. On one early morning run (just as the sun was rising and before people entered the streets), I decided to look at these familiar locks in a different way. Rather than look down on the locks from a standing position, I laid down underneath them and I looked at the locks from the bottom up: they seemed completely different. From this angle the focus was not on a person leaving their mark and preserving a moment in the past but on the keyhole itself. Now, the emphasis was on the future and the opportunity for the key holder to return and unlock the memory and at the same time, create more. It is funny how a shift of angle can give you an entirely different perspective.
At dinner that evening, my family and I sat on the patio enjoying the harvest of sweet summer melon. While my thoughts wandered to my morning on this bridge, a honey bee crashed our melon party. I shooed him away and as I did it struck me the bee’s view of the melon, the inside the curve of the melon wedge, seemingly enveloped by it, was a stark contrast to ours looking down on it. The bee looking up at the melon curve was like me looking at the keyholes. My perspective on melons changed as well, namely: Why is melon always diced, cut into wedges or carved into balls? Why is melon always wrapped inside something else? Why can’t we slice the melon and wrap the melon itself around something? This week’s simple pleasure takes advantage of that very simple concept. A cannoli revisited. A melon reconfigured.
Traditional cannoli is fried sweet dough filled with flavored pastry cream. Yummy? Yes. Healthy and light in taste and calories? No.
Our melon cannoli wraps a fresh melon slice around a tablespoon of low fat ricotta cheese sweetened with honey. It is served with a light raspberry sauce and garnished with pine nuts, fresh mint leaves and a julienned granny smith apple all resulting in a very hydrating, light, and delicious way to end to your meal.
In case you are thinking how in the world would you slice a melon without cutting off your arm in the process, I have given you step by step photographs of “how to.” I am confident that you will be able to easily follow the recipe without incident.
Also this week, peach and tarragon clafoutis.
One production note: because you are creating a delicate slice, rather than chunky and substantial cut of melon, the slice will turn to water quicker than a cube would (cantaloupe is ninety-five percent water). To avoid a watery and flavorless melon slice, choose a sweet melon and cut it right before your meal (rather than the day before). However, the filling and sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Cannoli revisited: light, hydrating, and healthy. Here is to a different perspective on a bridge and on your plate. À table !
mangez bien, vivez bien et bon appétit ! (eat well, live well and enjoy)