Mini Cantaloupe with Balsamic-Honey Drizzle
whole cantaloupe melon, halved and seeded
tablespoon sesame seeds
In a small saucepan combine the balsamic vinegar and the honey.
Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer (and whisk) until the balsamic and honey have reduced by 75% and coats the back of a spoon.
Let the glaze cool, it should continue to thicken as it cools down in temperature.
Meanwhile, using a melon baller, scoop out melon balls and divide into four bowls.
Drizzle with the honey-balsamic glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cantaloupe and Capicola Bites with Basil and Balsamic Reduction
Capicola and cantaloupe make the perfect salty sweet pairing for this delectable appetizer.
- 24 slices Capicola, Thinly Sliced
- ¾ cups Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ whole Cantaloupe
- 12 leaves Basil
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place capicola slices into the holes in a 24-count mini muffin tin. Press the capicola in firmly to form a cup. Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly crispy.
While the capicola is baking, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in a saucepan. Once it boils, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes until the vinegar has reduced by half creating a sweet and tangy syrup.
Next, halve a cantaloupe and deseed it. Cut the half into quarters, cut the rind away and dice the cantaloupe into small cubes.
Chiffonade the basil by stacking the leaves on top of each other and rolling it into a cigar shape. Then cut the leaves into thin slices.
Once the capicola is cooked and the balsamic has reduced, assemble the cantaloupe and capicola bites. Place the capicola on a serving plate and fill the capicola bowls with 3 to 5 cubes of cantaloupe. Next drizzle the balsamic reduction over the capicola cantaloupe bowls with a spoon. Finish by garnishing each piece with basil. Enjoy.
Balsamic Glazed Melon, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Skewers
So, what do you do when you get invited to a backyard BBQ or need to pack an elegant picnic, and you need to make something fairly quick and easy that doesn’t need to be kept warm, or be reheated? The first things that come to my mind are fruit, charcuterie and cheese!
Something about melon just says summer to me! It’s light and refreshing and makes the perfect starter for just about any meal, or if you are like me, when it comes to this combination, it might even become the entire meal!!
Melon, mozzarella and prosciutto is a pretty traditional combination, however, by putting it on skewers and adding the balsamic glaze it becomes a beautiful party appetizer or a healthy picnic dish. You can use a white tile or platter as the serving dish then drizzle the glaze similar to the way I did in the photos to create an eye-catching presentation that will definitely impress your guests or fellow party goers. Then just keep the extra, pre-made skewers in the refrigerator and replenish the platter as needed.
If you’re not entertaining and just want these as a light lunch or afternoon snack, you can skip the skewers and put all the ingredients on a small plate then drizzle with balsamic glaze. It takes a little less time and you still get the same tasty flavor combo!
So let’s talk about balsamic glaze for a minute – this is one of my favorite things to keep in the kitchen because it goes with so many things and can transform something kind of ordinary, into something really special. I use it on salads, crab cakes, bruschetta, berries – just about anything you want to enhance with a really intense version balsamic flavor.
I use a pre-made glaze that I buy at Eataly here in Chicago. While some people might say it’s better to make your own, I think this is one of those items you are better off to purchase. I think it’s worth it to purchase it because you don’t have to worry about messing up the reduction, yes, that does happen, and then you also have it available at a moment’s notice. It keeps for quite a while, so you don’t have to worry about it going bad quickly either.
So next time you get invited to a summer party or get ready to pack a summer picnic grab a cantaloupe and a few other ingredients and whip up these tasty skewers!
Things You May Want for this Recipe
Balsamic Glaze – Just like with balsamic vinegar, the higher quality the vinegar, the more expensive, so if you are willing to spend a little more you can usually find several types of glaze at a specialty Italian store. This version from Alessi is available in more grocery stores and has a good flavor.
Mini Cantaloupe with Balsamic-Honey Drizzle - Recipes
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Grilled Fruit Salad with Balsamic Drizzle
Prep: 20 minutes plus cooling
Grill: 6 minutes • Serves: 4
1. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Spray strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon with cooking spray. Place fruit on hot grill rack cook strawberries 3 minutes, and cantaloupe and watermelon 6 minutes or until grill marks appear, turning once. Transfer fruit to cutting board and cool cut 4 strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon into 1-inch pieces.
2. In large bowl, toss cut fruit and cheese. Makes about 11 cups.
3. Serve 8 cups fruit salad drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with basil cover and refrigerate remaining fruit salad and 4 whole strawberries up to 1 day.
Approximate nutritional values per serving (2 cups fruit salad, 1½ teaspoons balsamic glaze):
204 Calories, 9g Fat (4g Saturated), 24mg Cholesterol, 269mg Sodium, 30g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 26g Sugars, 6g Protein
> Grilling fruit intensifies the sweetness and flavor because of caramelization of the natural sugars.
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How to Make Caprese Skewers
To make a platter for entertaining you’ll need grape or cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and fresh mini mozzarella balls. You can find mini cheese balls in most grocery stores these days. If not, just cut a large ball of fresh mozzarella into bite-sized pieces.
Peach Caprese Salad
Layer a mini cheese ball onto a toothpick followed by a fresh basil leaf (fold in half if large,) and half a cherry tomato.
While you’re assembling the skewers, pour 1 cup balsamic vinegar into a saucepan then let it simmer for 10 minutes, or until it’s the consistency of maple syrup. After it’s cooled and thickened slightly, drizzle all over the Caprese Skewers. If I’m feeling lazy, I LOVE this store-bought balsamic reduction!