A group of us did a presentation in our baking course on Melon Seeds. We had lots of ideas for recipes and lots of disasters. My brother and a friend suggested making crostini with mozzarella and a pesto with melon seeds instead of the pine nuts. Melon seeds are very healthy and I’m allergic to nuts so this is a great substitute. It worked out really well.
Melon Seeds are the seeds of the Musk Melon and are used in India in traditional sweets like mithais, kheer and halvas or as a thickening agent for rich meat curries (qormas). These seeds are called magaz and are a part of a quartet called charmagaz: Char means four and charmagaz consists of pumpkin seeds, muskmelon seeds, watermelon seeds and cucumber seeds.
Crostini with Mozzarella and Melon Seed Pesto
A baguette or ciabatta
A clove of garlic
For the Pesto-
1/3 cup basil
1/3 cup melon seeds
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Cut slices from a baguette or ciabatta; brush both sides with olive oil. Toast it in the oven till golden. Cut a garlic clove in half and rub onto one side of the bread.
Melon Seed Pesto-
Stack up and roll the basil leaves, cut very finely into strips and then into small pieces. Try not to bruise the leaves.
Put the melon seeds into a spice grinder and grind it with short burst so that the seeds don’t become oily.
In a bowl mix the basil, grated cheese, minced garlic and melon seeds. Add the olive oil and stir. I don’t add any salt; I think it spoils the taste of the pesto but that’s a personal choice.
I put very little basil in my pesto – if you prefer it the more traditional way – add some more.
Putting it all together –
Cut a slice of mozzarella and place on the crostini. Put a spoonful of pesto on top of the mozzarella.
Eat and enjoy.
I had a tiny bit of the pesto left in the evening; I boiled up baby penne and mixed the pesto into it for my daughter’s dinner. It was delicious.
Rosemary and Melon Seed Crackers
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano cheese, finely grated
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 tablespoons melon seeds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup cream or half each of cream and milk
1 tablespoon milk, if required
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Oil the baking sheet.
Put flour, salt, cheese, rosemary, melon seeds and olive oil in bowl and whisk it all together.
Then add the oil and using a fork or a pastry blender mix till they look like coarse crumbs. Add about 1/4 cup cream or the cream and milk to the dough mixture and combine it with your hands.
Roll out dough onto a silpat or baking sheet until 1/4-inch thick or even thinner. Score lightly with a sharp knife or a pastry wheel to break crackers into squares or rectangles later on.
Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.