Thursday, 3 July 2014

Summertime Starter-Upper!

Melone alla Griglia con Mozzarella, Pancetta, Pomodorini, Pepe Verde Freschi & BasilicoGrilled Melon with Mozzarella, Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Green Peppercorns & Basil 

Yes, yes, honeydew melon or cantaloupe with Parma ham, everybody's favorite, but to be brutally honest, soooo boring after all these years!

So I got thinking about how I could make an appetizer that would bring that old classic up to date... And behold! I reckon I done pretty good! And you will too if you try it! Not to mention any guests you may have... I would say that this is a crowd pleaser in any case... as weird as it may sound!

It's basically the great combination of sweet and savory that make this work, but with the added, creamy and mild mozzarella and the hot, fresh peppercorns, this was a little more complex than just melon and ham... And did you notice? Crunchy little bacon bits!!

So for each serving I needed one thick slice of melon, a half of a ball of mozzarella, a handful of chopped bacon, 5-6 cherry tomatoes, some pepper corns ( mine were fresh, but from ajar is just fine!) and plenty of fresh basil.

Obviously, the result is very, very pretty to look at, but believe me or believe me not... My motivation to make this was purely the combination of flavors... And if you have a great best of both worlds... Well, what's not to love about that?

Simply cut yourself a nice, thick ring of melon... Depending on its size, maybe 2-3" thick, then fut away the skiing and discard the seeds.

Green pepper corns from the jar are absolutely fine as an alternative... But I had these fresh green pepper corns at home and I was not afraid to use them! And do you know what? They tasted really terrific in this! Get them if you can!

There is not really a recipe in here and there is not really anything I need to be telling you... But here we go anyway! Press your thick slice of melon down nice and firmly onto either a nice, hot grill or a hot griddle pan, which is what I used, until it begins to sizzle and scorch... This makes it caramelize just a little and heightens the flavor a touch. Scorch the melon on each side for 2-3 minutes and set aside.

In the meantime, toss your bacon bits into the pan and let them sizzle and brown and become crispy... Then set them to one side and whilst everything cools off, halve the tomatoes, pluck the pepper corns from the stems and tear your mozzarella in half. That's right, tear it! Don't use a knife- use your hands! And don't ask me why it tastes better... Just believe me- it does!

I decided to skip adding salt, as I had the bacon bits in there and the oil, as I reckoned that there was enough fat their from the bacon too... But feel free to add a drizzle of olive oil if you so wish- it will taste great here in combination for sure!

It will be a colorful dish however you decide to serve it up- so have fun and make it special! It's almost impossible not to! I hope you give it a try and I hope you enjoy it when you do!

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