Chang’s melon gelée was a happy accident; gelatin and melon juice was put in the fridge instead of the freezer and melon gelée was created instead of the frozen melon ice cube needed for melon consommé. Melons and oysters sound like strange combination, but the sweet-saltiness of the of oysters is heightened by the fresh taste of melon.
Chang doesn’t specify what kind of melon to use in this recipe, but in the anecdote where he talks about how the gelée was created, he talks about watermelon. Instead of watermelon, I choose honeydew because I love how honeydews taste and I thought the green would look really nice as a gelée.
This was my first time making a gelée and it showed! My gelatin didn’t gel and I ended up with more of a thickened melon soup. I was expecting a jello-like consistency, except more natural tasting, but since the gelée didn’t gel, it just tasted like honeydew juice.
I’m not too sure what I did wrong, but I think the strength of my gelatin sheets might be different from what’s required. The recipe advises blooming the gelatin sheets in hot tap water, then wringing them out afterward, but when I bloomed my sheets in hot water they liquefied instantly so I couldn’t wring them out to add to the melon juice.
After the first sheet liquefied, I bloomed another sheet in cool water which I was able to wring out, but when I tried to stir it into the melon juice, it didn’t dissolve.
When melon gelée is properly set, it should look like shattered glass, but mine looked like a puddle of green goo. Still, I decided to give it a go on some oysters to see how it tasted.
It was sweet with a tangy vinegary finish; interesting, but not something I would make again. If the juice had gelled the bounciness of the gelée would have been an interesting texture contrast, but my minor fail gave no textural contrast. My melon gelée was a bust, but the good thing was I bought a lot of oysters to top. After the first one with gelée I had the rest naked. I guess I just love naked oysters!