Cantaloupe and Cress Salad with Fennel, Black Olives and Tarragon Vinaigrette


Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Rachel Caldwell

Here fresh fennel and tarragon amplify the cantaloupe’s floral aromas while the olives play up its richness. Take care not to overdress this salad; you don’t want to wilt the greens—you should have a bit left over for tomorrow’s lunch. Top with a few slices of thinly sliced speck or guanciale for an appetizer or serve with grilled chicken and a glass of Chablis.

Serves 4–6

½ cantaloupe, peeled and sliced into thin strips with a mandoline or knife, or into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
3 bulbs fennel, sliced thin with a mandoline or knife
2 bunches upland cress or 2 handfuls baby arugula leaves
8 oil-cured black olives, minced or slivered

3 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
4 teaspoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a medium serving bowl, combine all salad ingredients.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar. Shake vigorously until emulsified, about 20 seconds.

Drizzle dressing onto salad, toss gently and serve.

This recipe appeared in the Summer 2019 issue as part of a larger story on Melon.