Market Special: Persian Melon

I’ve always known this large, football-shaped melon as Persian melon, and indeed, that’s what it’s called at my beloved Persian-and-everything-else Mission Ranch Market, where every shopping cart seems to have one (or two) riding along in the baby seat. Maybe you’ve seen it as Hami melon, too. Whatever the label, you’ll recognize its heavily-netted, green-and-yellow rind. They can be super large—the one in the photo was nearly 12 pounds. The flesh is the color of an ethereally pale cantaloupe, and is very crisp, even when fully ripe—but bursts with juice when you take a bite, a lot like Asian pear. I’ve taken advantage of its structural integrity to dice it, along with feta, into perfect squares for a salad, dressed with olive oil, lemon, and mint, but mostly we’ve been feasting on it plain, icy from the fridge, as summer temps stubbornly sticks near 100 degrees.

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