The grocery store was having a sale on various melons. This particular melon caught my eye. Although I had never tried it before, and didn't know what "piel de sapo" meant in Spanish, I had a good feeling about it.
I got it home and Googled it. It means "toad skin". Hmm. Hope it tastes better than it's name implies. It is also sometimes labeled "Christmas" and "Santa Claus" because they ripen into winter ready for Christmas, although I think that is a misnomer as those melons are said to have yellow-orange flesh.
A little more research and I found rave reviews for the piel de sapo melon. Apparently it is widely served in Spain. In fact, it is so popular in Spain that when melon is mentioned, it is assumed to be this one. Some travelers said that it was the best melon that they had ever tasted.
Most admitted that it is difficult to tell when it is ripe since it is a hard-skinned melon that is ripe while it is still green. Supposedly, you look for a spreading of yellow tinting across the melon. It has fairly good keeping qualities, so even if you buy it from the store a little unripe, you can ripen it at home. I was pretty sure that mine was not fully ripe when I bought it so I waited. I had this one for two weeks before I caved and cut it open.
It still was not quite ripe, even after the two weeks, so I would wait for the skin to get a little more yellow. Also, the ends give a little as it ripens, so maybe wait until more of the end is springy.
The flesh is white and somewhat juicy, much like honeydew. The seeds form three cases which were easy to remove. There wasn't much of an aroma.
The melon sliced up easily. Slice into thin slices, then filet the rind off. It is a little difficult to tell where the rind end as the flesh and rind are similar in color. Check for where it gets firm, the ripe flesh will be crisp but easy to bite into.
I thought the melon tasted like sweet, juicy cucumbers. My husband said it tasted like a really firm watermelon. We both liked it. It had crisp flesh and was light and refreshing.
I will definitely try it again.