Summer Melons on the Grill

Grilled MelonsJuicy, grilled melons—cantaloupe, honeydew or small seedless watermelon—make terrific, light appetizers or between-courses refreshers. A brush of mild, seasoned rice vinegar adds a perfectly-balanced sweet tang that brings out the best of these summer gems. A sprinkle of chili powder or mint complements the fresh fruity flavor. That’s it. That’s cooking simply and deliciously.

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Grilled Melon
Choose firm melons, not too ripe. Use either chili powder or mint. Sprinkle on chili powder before grilling. Add mint after grilling, along with a little crumbled feta cheese, if you like.

Melon of your choice (use seedless watermelon)
Nakano seasoned rice vinegar
Chili powder, or dried ground ancho or pasilla chiles
Kosher salt
Fresh mint, chopped (optional)

Wash melon well. Cut small watermelon in half. If using cantaloupe or honeydew, cut melon in half and scoop out seeds. Cut into 1-inch thick slices — large enough for appetizer servings but not too large to handle easily on the grill.

Brush both sides of melon liberally with seasoned rice vinegar; let stand 10 minutes. Lightly sprinkle both sides with chili powder and salt. OR sprinkle lightly with salt only, then after melon is grilled, sprinkle with fresh mint.

Heat grill to medium. If desired, rub grates with a little vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Cook melon slices 5-7 minutes, brushing with Nakano; turn and grill another 4-5 minutes. Serve warm with knives and forks.

Nutrition information per serving (1 cup watermelon with 2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar and 1/8 tsp kosher salt):  60 calories, 1g protein, 15g carb, 0g fat, (0g sat. fat), 0mg chol, 410mg sodium, <1g fiber                                                Recipe and photo by Rita Held

4 thoughts on “Summer Melons on the Grill”

  • Hi Chefs,
    I have a question from a lazy chef, that would be me.
    I love summer fruit. Love it, as is. What does “cooking” / “grilling” really do for it? What’s the incremental benefit? Does the carmelized natural sugar from grilling make additional spices, herbs and toppings more palatable? What if I merely added a chiffonnade of basil, mint or you name it?
    – John

    • John, melons au naturale are fabulous–at least those we enjoy locally here. Grilling is a simple twist that takes them in a slightly different flavor direction, inviting savory seasonings to step in, such as dried ground chiles, or even curry or Chinese five spice. These grilled melons can be served at dinner, instead of the more typical breakfast food or snack. The incremental benefit is the creativity and flavor flexibility. These melons are on the grill too short a time for carmelization to take place.

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