If you're looking for summer on a plate, this dish has you covered. Break out your most flavorful produce, because you're really only applying gentle enhancements. The melon is prepared with a light sprinkle of sugar and orange zest while the thin green beans are seared to crisp-tender (we once again turned to our trusty electric countertop grill, but you can use a griddle on the stove top instead), then tossed in miso and olive oil for a salty-savory shot up front. Raw macadamia nuts provide a touch of richness and additional texture (which this dish really excels in).
To round out the meal, serve an appetizer of crusty bread and a substantial, but fresh-tasting spread like the one from our white bean crostini (but pureed rather than mashed for a smooth texture that will better complement the entree).
Seared Melon with Miso-Glazed Hericots Verts
serves 2 as an entree
8 slices melon (such as canary, honeydew, cantaloupe, or other meaty variety) about 3/4-inch thick, from about half a medium melon
1 tsp natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 tsp orange zest
1 lb fresh hericots verts (french stringless green beans), washed, dried, and tough stem-end trimmed
2 tsp plus another 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp red miso paste
1/2 cup raw, unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped
Heat a countertop electric grill. Meanwhile, lay the melon slices in one layer on a clean surface. Combine the sugar and orange zest and sprinkle 1/8-1/4 tsp of the mixture over each melon slice (amount of sugar will depend upon the sweetness and size of your fruit). When the grill is hot, add the melon slices in one layer--you'll likely need to do two batches--sugar-side down, close, and cook until caramelized, but still firm, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Quickly wipe down your grill plates.
Using your hands, toss the trimmed green beans with 2 tsp of oil until coated. Spread across the grill surface in no more than two layers (again, you'll need to do two or three batches), close, and cook until bright green and crisp-tender with grill marks, 7-10 minutes.
While the beans cook, whisk together the miso paste with the remaining 2 tsp olive oil in a large mixing bowl. The resulting mixture doesn't need to be smooth, you just want to loosen the paste.
When all the beans are done, toss thoroughly with the miso-oil mix. Serve at room temperature with four slices of melon and half the green beans per plate. Top with the chopped nuts.