We like to serve this Spicy Melon Salad in the summer when a variety of melons are abundant. Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew or other ripe melons work equally well. Bright melons paired with salty, cotija cheese and spicy pepitas make this dish a refreshing feast for the eyes and tastebuds.
Spicy Melon Salad
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 or more serrano chiles to taste, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, rough chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
6 cups assorted melon cubes, in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup Cotija cheese*, cut in 1/2” cubes
1/4 cup roasted, Chile Lime Pepitas, for garnish (optional)
In a medium bowl, mix the agave syrup, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, serrano chiles, and chopped cilantro and stir until combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Toss the assorted melon cubes, cotija cheese, and then dress gently with your hands or spoons.
Place the melon salad on plates and top with Chile Lime Pepitas. Add more cilantro and serrano chiles if desired.
Chile Lime Pepitas
Makes 2 cups
2 cups pepitas (raw hulled green pumpkin seeds)**
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground ancho chiles or chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Shake the pan once or twice.
* Cacique cheeses are a great choice. We have been using their cheeses at Border Grill for over 25 years.
** Keep pepitas or raw pumpkin seeds in the freezer to make quick cocktail snacks for unexpected guests. They do not need defrosting for this recipe.