I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago and stayed up watching the Summer Grill Fest on Food Network. I usually have a hard time watching the Food Network–you know how it goes: they’re making something very tasty, which makes me hungry, then I make something to eat, and then I miss whatever show I was watching. I found the remedy to this though, laying in bed in the state where you’re too awake to fall asleep but too tired to get up and fix a snack–with these criteria the Grill Fest had my undivided attention. I watched Paula, Giada, Bobby, Alton, and Tyler make all sorts of dished from appetizers to fish, to drinks to desserts, went to sleep, woke up, and proceeded to make most all of the Grill Fest recipes in the next week.
This is how we end up at the Cantaloupe and Watermelon Salad with Mint and Basil Vinaigrette. My dad is allergic to watermelon, so I never really ate it growing up (which is irrelevant, because I didn’t appreciate fruits anyway) and I was never a big cantaloupe fan. Well. a $.99/ea cantaloupe sale lured me to that melon, and i figured while I was at it to get the watermelon too.
This recipe is great because it adds a sweet flavour, plus the summery taste of mint, the spice of basil, tart lemon, and aromatic almond. Serve as a sweet snack, side dish, or a light dessert.
Cantaloupe and Watermelon Salad with Mint and Basil Vinaigrette
adapted from Giade DeLaurentis.
cantaloupe, cut in half, seeded
2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint leaves plus whole sprigs, for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves plus whole sprigs, for garnish
1 lemon juiced (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves, cool)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Scoop melon balls from half of the watermelon and the entire cantaloupe using a melon baller. Reserve the watermelon shell.Add to a blender or food processor the chopped mint, chopped basil, lemon juice, simple syrup and almond extract. Blend until smooth.
Add the watermelon and cantaloupe balls to the carved out watermelon half.
Add the vinaigrette to the balls and toss to combine.
Garnish with the mint and basil sprigs and taste.