Tomato, Melon and Fennel Salad with a Charred Cucumber and Sesame Dressing

Tomato, Melon and Fennel Salad with a Charred Cucumber and Sesame Dressing

Photos and Recipe by Zachary Pacleb of Brothers & Co.

Serves 4-6 as a starter

For Dressing:

Cucumber, split lengthwise 1 ea, a little over ⅓ lb.

Ginger, peeled and minced 1.5 Tbs

Garlic cloves, minced 3 ea

Rice Wine Vinegar ⅓ cup

Oil (grapeseed, canola, safflower, etc)  ¼ cup 

Tahini 1.5 Tbs

Sesame Oil 1 tsp

Salt 2 ½ tsp, or to taste

  • Preheat your grill or cast iron pan over high heat. 
  • Lightly oil the split cucumber and sear over high until well charred but not soggy. It should have a balance of raw and cooked textures. Remove from heat and cool entirely.
  • Once cooled, dice into small pieces and place in a blender with the garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, tahini and salt. Blend on high until as smooth as you can get it. 
  • Slowly stream in the oil and sesame oil to emulsify. Check seasoning with salt and set aside.

To assemble the Salad:

Tomatoes, a mix of shapes colors and varieties are always best 

Heirloom Melon, peeled and seeded  

Fennel ½ of a head, about ¼ lb

A blend of bitter and hearty greens about 2 cups

Toasted Sesame Seeds ¾ Tbsp

Herbs for Garnish: fennel fronds, shiso, basil, mint or cilantro a loose ¼ cup

Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Split the fennel in half again lengthwise, oil lightly and place on the hot grill. Cook until charred and tender. Allow to cool and cut into about ¼ inch pieces across the grain.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half if they are large cherries or dice into bite size pieces if larger. 
  • Dice or slice the melon to match the size of the tomatoes. Mix with the tomatoes and sliced fennel. Add a pinch of salt and a crack of pepper. 
  • Mix in the herbs, reserving a few for garnish, and greens into the salad and dress with a few tablespoons of the dressing or to your preference. Check for seasoning.
  • Transfer to your favorite serving platter and garnish with the remaining herbs and sesame seeds. 


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