Summer Melon Salad With Shrimp

Serves 8 appetizer portions

For the salad:

1 small seedless watermelon, rind removed

1/2 honeydew melon, rind and seeds removed

1/2 cantaloupe rind and seeds removed

8 mint leaves, thinly sliced

Sprigs fresh cilantro

For the red chili dressing:

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 orange

1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 small shallot, finely minced

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

For the shrimp:

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt

60 peeled and deveined 21/25 count fresh local shrimp


For the salad, cut the melons into a desired shape: slices, cubes, or melon balls. Refrigerate.

For the dressing, whisk together the first 8 ingredients. Slowly whisk in the canola oil to incorporate. The dressing will not emulsify; it is a separated vinaigrette.

Mix in the salt, pepper, and rice wine vinegar and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the shrimp, working in two batches if necessary, heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season half of the shrimp with salt. Cook them in the skillet for about 1½ minutes per side, or until pink and beginning to curl. Remove from the skillet and reserve. Repeat.

When ready to serve, place the melons and mint in a large mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add half of the vinaigrette. Toss gently. Place the shrimp and melon on the plates. Drizzle more vinaigrette over the shrimp. You may also drizzle it around the outer edge of the salad or serve it on the side. Garnish with cilantro.

Chef Scott Stefanelli has been the chef instructor for the Culinary Institute of Charleston’s fine dining restaurant, 181 Palmer, since it opened in the fall of 2008. In Charleston, he has worked as a chef for Louis’ Charleston Grill, Elliot’s on the Square, JBistro, and the Seashell Restaurant.