teaspoons fennel seeds
teaspoon red-pepper flakes
teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
teaspoon granulated sugar
lemon, for zesting and juicing
medium cantaloupe or honeydew melon (about 2 1/2 pounds), seeds removed
teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- In a small skillet over medium-low, toast the fennel seeds and red-pepper flakes, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer them to a cutting board, then smash with a heavy pan until the fennel seeds break apart. (You can also do this using a mortar and pestle.)
- Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, then add the salt, sugar and 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest. Rub the mixture with your fingers until you smell the lemon.
- Using a soup spoon, scoop out small spoonfuls of the melon and place them directly on a serving platter. Halve the avocados and remove the pit. Using the soup spoon, scoop out small spoonfuls of avocado and place on top of the melon.
- Drizzle the fruit with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, then sprinkle with some of the fennel-chile mixture. (Start with half of it, then add more to taste.) Drizzle with the olive oil, then taste and adjust acid (with lemon juice), richness (with oil), and salt and sweetness (with fennel mixture) until it tastes fresh and bright. Serve right away.