Make Ahead

Quick-Pickled Cucumber-Melon Salad

June 23, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Makes 6 cups
Author Notes

Who *didn't* lose their mind when the Momofuku cookbook came out? While most of its recipes are eminently impractical, I have made David Chang's quick pickled cucumbers more times than I can count - thin Kirby cukes marinated in sugar and salt, rinsed, patted dry, and then devoured. But why not cut the vegetables a bit thicker, and bring that highly addictive flavor to a salad? With sweet melon and a touch of salty, pliant prosciutto? (Vegetarians can substitute a handful of feta - one extra salty item is necessary, in my opinion).

I now eat this salad for breakfast. - MeghanVK —MeghanVK

Test Kitchen Notes

When MeghanVK says "quick-pickled", she's not kidding. Once you toss hunks of cucumber and melon in a few spoonfuls of salt and sugar, a 10 to 20 minute time-out is all they need. An impressive amount of water drains away, intensifying the flavors and gently seasoning them at the same time. Add silky threads of prosciutto (or feta, if that's how you roll), and you've got yourself a picnic in 30 minutes flat. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 4 Kirby cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thin
  • 3 cups sweet melon, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons plus two teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices high-quality prosciutto, cut into thin ribbons OR:
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In a bowl, mix together the cucumbers and melon. Sprinkle over with the sugar and salt. The salad will begin to expel liquid almost immediately. Let sit 10-20 minutes and drain well. Return to the fridge until ready to serve.
  2. Before your picnic/casual lunch/classy dinner party, drain the salad again and remove to a serving bowl. Add a grind of black pepper and sprinkle over the prosciutto or feta (using both will add too much salt; not recommended). Spoon into bowls or eat straight from the serving dish with your fingers, trying to keep the cucumber-melon juice off your chin.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • fiveandspice
  • annanymous
  • TiggyBee
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • ibbeachnana

29 Reviews

carol_tanenbaum May 19, 2012
I drained this really well, and tossed it with arugula and a lemon vinaigrette -- called it dinner! I also like this salad without the prosciutto or feta, but served with cheeses on the side as a salad/cheese course. Works beautifully, and everyone raves.
Alison M. February 11, 2012
This is really good! I made it with feta because thats what I had in the fridge. Next time I will try with the prosciutto. Thank you!
joshenk July 7, 2011
Making this again tonight-trying it with different melons!
fiveandspice July 6, 2011
This is really perfect for this steamy weather we're having! Thanks for sharing such a great quick pickle technique. I'll be using it all summer.
MeghanVK July 13, 2011
Thanks - hope you like it!
annanymous July 5, 2011
just made this and it's excellent!!! great, fast recipe
MeghanVK July 13, 2011
Thanks! It almost freaks me out with how easy it is :)
TiggyBee July 1, 2011
Beautiful!! Congrats!! : )
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 1, 2011
Oh my! I made this last night to accompany grilled tenderloin. So amazing, and easy! Maybe next time I will fry up the prosciutto a bit because I can never leave well enough alone. Also, mayyybeee, a drizzle of my best balsamic. Keeper for sure & thank you for a great recipe.
MeghanVK July 1, 2011
I'm so glad you liked it! I bet balsamic would be absolutely delicious on this... maybe with that extra sweetness you could even crumble in some feta and it would stay balanced. Thank you!
AntoniaJames July 1, 2011
The very thought of crumbling feta over this is making my mouth water . . . . I'm thinking feta AND prosciutto would be "killer" (as my sons say). Actually, I'd put it into a fresh-off-the-griddle roti and call it "dinner"!! ;o)
ibbeachnana July 1, 2011
Perfect timing I needed something to take to a cookout tomorrow and this is just the ticket.

Great recipe and congratulations!
MeghanVK July 1, 2011
Thanks! I hope everyone's 4th cookouts go well :)
Bevi June 30, 2011
Congrats! This is going to be made in a few days.
kristijarvis June 30, 2011
I will be making this for our 4th gathering! Lovely!
kristijarvis June 30, 2011
Awesome! Making this for our 4th party!!
MeghanVK June 30, 2011
Hope you enjoy it! Let me know how it goes!
AntoniaJames June 30, 2011
Mmmm, perfect. Simplicity itself. Just yesterday, I bookmarked Chang's pickle recipe in Alice Waters's "In the Green Kitchen." Going sweet + salty with this is just brilliant. Congrats!! ;o)
carol_tanenbaum June 30, 2011
Midge June 30, 2011
What a beautiful salad. Congrats MeghanVK!
wssmom June 30, 2011
Congrats on being a finalist! This looks wonderful!
sexyLAMBCHOPx June 30, 2011
Congrats, looks amazing. Upscale picnic fare for sure!
MeghanVK June 30, 2011
Ha, thank you - it certainly seems upscale, but no one needs to know how easy (and cheap) it is!
Beautiful, M. June 30, 2011
Congrats on being a finalist! This looks delicious. I often make quick Japanese style cucumber pickles with rice vinegar, sugar and sea salt, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, but I like the contrast you introduce here with sweet melon and salty prosciutto,
MeghanVK June 30, 2011
Thank you! I'll have to try this with toasted sesame seeds.
joshenk June 30, 2011
midnitechef June 24, 2011
Hmm, interesting.
MeghanVK June 23, 2011
Thanks! I discovered watermelon and feta last year and haven't looked back. The quick pickles are great with basically anything.