Caroselli and tomato salad
Caroselli are round cucumbers-melons cultivated in Salento, but sometimes you can also find them in specialized green grocers in other part of Italy and Europe. Try them in a refreshing caroselli and tomato salad, to taste what the hype is all about.
In the summertime, every fruit and vegetable stall in my local market offers a heap of caroselli. A cross-over between cucumber and melon originating in Carosino, near Taranto, (hence the name), though it is now grown in every corner of Salento. Caroselli are widely different in taste and shape depending on where and how they have been cultivated, some are small and round with a taste not unlike zucchini-like, others look like squash but taste like regular cucumbers once the seeds and the peel have been removed, and then there are the big round ones with a sweet melony flavour used here. If you have the good luck to come a across a fresh carosello, try it in a salad with tomatoes and pickled onions. You won’t find a more refreshing salad in the summer heat.
2 tbsp pickled red onions*
1 corosello (can be substituted with half a cucumber and half a canary or honey dew melon)
4 salad tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
*If you haven’t got any pickles red onions, you can make them in 5 minutes. Just boil a pickle of 80 g sugar, 100 ml. vinegar and 100 ml water. Pour it over 2 peeled and sliced red onions (preferably Tropea onions), while still hot. And leave it to cool. The pickled onions are great with any food – especially salad.
Peel the carosello, cut it in halves and scoop out the seeds.
Cut the carosello and tomatoes in bite-sized pieces.
Toss the vegetables with pickled onions to taste.
Mix a dressing of olive oil and white vinegar and pour it over the salad.