THE COMMONPLACE BECOMES extraordinary when seasonal melons are carved into tiny balls and flavored with a sweet liqueur.
In addition to summer standards such as honeydews, be sure to try at least one unusual melon such as the Casaba, a moderately-sweet melon with pale yellow flesh or the Cranshaw, with pale orange flesh. Another choice would be the Canary melon with bright yellow flesh.
Elegant Fruit Salad
Sweet liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Mariner
Lemons, for garnish
Mint, for garnish
Using a melon baller, carefully make small spheres of fruit. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Drain off excess juice and sprinkle with liqueur, stirring gently to mix well. Pour into clear glass goblets and garnish with thin peels of lemon and sprigs of mint.
If you like, the dessert can be topped with a creamy dressing. Blend plain non-fat yogurt with liqueur to taste and stir in heavy cream until the mixture mounds easily. Top each glass of fruit with one large dollop.
-- Adapted from "The Taste of Summer" by Diane Worthington; Bantam Books -- 1988, $19.95