The term carpaccio is usually used to refer to thinly sliced cuts of meat or fish that are served as an appetizer. In recent years, however, chef’s have reinvented the idea of carpaccio, preparing dishes of thinly sliced veggies or fruit, like zucchini and melon, carpaccio-style. The trick to making a carpaccio is to keep the ingredients thin and uniform by shaving them down with a mandolin or vegetable peeler. Ever since slicing my palm on a mandolin last year, I have a hard time using it without cringing, so peelers are a welcome substitute in this case!
When working with melon, you don’t want your fruit to be too ripe, otherwise the thin shavings won’t hold up after plating. They’ll let out too much juice and turn to mush. Use just-ripened fruit that’s cold (warm melon will be harder to peel) and shave it over a bowl to catch the juices. If using a mandolin or peeler doesn’t work for you, you can also slice it thinly with a knife.
What I love most about this melon appetizer, is the combination of sweet melon with spicy jalapeno and tart lime. It celebrates the best of summer produce – melon, tomatoes & basil – at their prime. This unconventional melon salad is not only a party on your palate, it looks beautiful on your plate too.
1/2 green melon (canary or honeydew)
1/2 orange melon (cantaloupe or orange flesh honeydew)
1 handful yellow grape tomatoes
1 handful red grape tomatoes
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1/3 cup tomato juice
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp lime zest
5 basil leaves, chiffonade
pinch of salt
additional basil, for garnish
Over a bowl (to catch the drippings), thinly slice melon using a mandoline, peeler or knife (see above for tips). Add the remaining ingredients and mix gently to combine. Serve in glasses and garnish with fresh basil.