It’s not Christmas and it does not need to be in order to eat Santa Claus melons. Santa Claus melons, also known as Piel de Sapo (skin of a toad), originated in Spain (hence their original name) and it resembles a small football-shaped watermelon. Its flesh is pale green to white in color and has a succulent texture with a mildly sweet flavor. The color of its hard shell will be varying shades of green and yellow depending upon variety. Typically the brighter the yellow of the melon rind, the riper and sweeter it is. Its exterior skin is wrinkled, a distinguishing feature of the Santa Claus melon. Its fragrance is subtle as a result of its thick skin. Unlike many other melons, it will not release a signifying aroma when ripe. The ripest Santa Claus melon will have a soft blossom end that yields to gentle pressure and its skin will be a vibrant yellow hue.
To prepare the Santa Claus melon, you need to cut it just like you cut any other melon: lengthwise down the middle. The Santa Claus melon can be used in a variety of fresh preparations and in most recipes where melon is called for. Its sweet flesh lends itself to dessert preparations such as fruit salads, tarts, sorbets and sauces. Its consistency breaks down to make an excellent puree which complements chilled gazpacho like soups, smoothies and cocktails. The flavor of Santa Claus melon pairs well with cured meats, creamy cheeses, mint, basil, cilantro, citrus juice and zest, fruity olive oil and tomatoes. Use in fresh salads or appetizers. An excellent keeper the Santa Claus melon will keep refrigerated, for up to two months.
So, enjoy your Santa Claus melon. One of our many specials this week at Tavora!