Sweet melon magic from Bel Oro

It looks something like a vibrant yellow honey dew melon but the taste is much closer to sweet rockmelon - that's the new Bel Oro melon.

It's a winner as far as I am concerned on several counts - flavour, texture and ease of use.

Thought to originate in far north-east Asia, the Bel Oro fruit has a long growing season exceeding three months, with good shelf life when kept in cool storage.

The flesh is sweet and firm but with a juiciness that is easy to enjoy. The dense, apricot-coloured flesh, is easy-to-slice and the shape convenient to handle. David Pugh, Restaurant II and Alison Alexander, ABC 612 Radio obviously liked it as well as they've come up with some great recipes - see below.

And another plus - it's cultivated in the rich farmlands of Bundaberg, Lakelands, Chinchilla and Ayr in the Burdekin region of North Queensland. These Queenslanders saw much of their land inundated by the 2010 and 2011 floods, but have placed their faith in this new fruit variety.

I served it as a simple appetiser sliced thinly and wrapped with a little prosciutto.  It was popular.

Find it on the menu at Restaurant Two and Harvey's and on the shelves at quality grocers.

Bottom line: Snap this melon up if you see it, definitely worth trying

Here's three delicious recipes just right for summer entertaining from David Pugh, Restaurant II and Alison Alexander, ABC 612 Radio

Bel Oro Melon Recipes: by David Pugh | Restaurant II  
Prawn and crab salad with Bel Oro mayonnaise
120 gm crab meat
18 prawns, peeled and cooked
12 leaves mint, torn
12 leaves coriander, torn
12 leaves basil, torn
¼ Bel Oro melon diced
2 dsp Bel Oro melon puree
½ red chilli, finely sliced
Juice ½ lime
Juice ½ lemon
Frizzee lettuce
130 ml mayonnaise
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
4 cheeks of lime

In a large bowl mix mayonnaise, lime juice, lemon juice, Bel Oro melon puree, torn mint, coriander and basil. Season with salt and pepper
Divide mayonnaise into centre of 4 plates
Place crab on top
Place frizzee on top of crap
Arrange Bel Oro melon and prawns around plate and serve with lime cheek.

Shaved prosciutto, Bel Oro melon and rocket salad
12 slices proscuitto
12 slices Bel Oro melon
20 leaves rocket
Extra virgin olive oil
Malden salt and freshly ground pepper

Lay the proscuitto on a plate
Place Bel Oro melon slices on top
Toss rocket in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic
Season with salt and pepper and place on top and serve

Roast Duck and Bel Oro Melon Salad | Alison Alexander – ABC 612 radio
1 Chinese roast duck
½ Bel Oro melon, seeds removed
2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
4 red shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup mint leaves, torn in half
½ cup coriander leaves
½ cup Thai basil leaves
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds

1 hot red chilli, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated palm sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice

Dressing:  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the palm sugar.

Remove meat from the duck, discarding the fat, skin and bones. Cut meat into 5cm pieces and place in a large mixing bowl

Remove skin from the melon and cut into 4 equal pieces lengthwise. Cut each piece into .5cm slices and add to the duck with the remaining ingredients, reserving 2 tablespoons of peanuts.

Pour over the dressing and toss gently to coat the ingredients. Spoon the salad onto a serving plate and scatter over the reserved peanuts.