Words: Maggie Scardifeld
Main image: Trent Van Der Jagt
Apple cucumber, Spanish melon, ricotta and dill at Dear Sainte Éloise
Summer ain’t over. It’s just gone into hiding under fresh dill fronds and a dusting of dill powder at Potts Point wine bar, Dear Sainte Éloise.
Its partners in crime? Thinly sliced Spanish melon, also known as pie de sapo or Santa Claus melon, splices of apple cucumber from Windsor, and a cloud of creamy Meredith Dairy goat’s curd.
Chef Hugh Piper is behind this simple, plant-forward cucumber number, which (if we’re lucky) will stick around for a little while longer. He loves veggies, and gives them just as much reverence on his regularly changing menus as meat or fish.
It’s always nice to celebrate a couple of ingredients that some people might not know about.
Dehydrated dill powder along with fresh dill, and a drizzle of crisp cucumber dressing atop the raw cucumber, gives each and every bite a super concentrated flavour. “I really love trying to double down on the key ingredients in my vegetable dishes,” says Piper. “The dressing makes the cucumber even more cucumber-y and fresh.”
It’s clean, light and cooling, and yet thanks to the ricotta, still hearty enough to stand up to a glass of orange wine or a sour beer. “Apple cucumbers look as if someone’s squashed a green apple,” says Piper, “and their flesh is a touch bitter, which works well with the mild sweetness of the melon.” Both veggies are the same pale white colour, so it’s a fun guessing game to eat.
Dear Sainte Éloise, Shop 5, 29 Orwell St, Potts Point, NSW, dearsainteeloise.com