As I was looking through my food pictures a few days ago, I found some of a dish I decided not to use for my first fight, Battle Melon and Red Pepper . The dish I submitted to the contest was Grilled Pork and Cantaloupe with Spicy Balsamic Glaze. My first idea, however, was an appetizer of grilled cantaloupe balls wrapped in strips of prosciutto, served with the spicy balsamic glaze. I really liked it, but I was worried the classic pairing of melon and prosciutto would be too commonplace to have a chance in the fight, and I decided to go with the pork chops. The judges had some very nice things to say about my submission, but they had an impossible job of picking one out of the five, and gave the honor to another blogger.
Grilled Cantaloupe and Prosciutto Kabobs with Spicy Balsamic Drizzle
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
1 3-1 1/2 lb cantaloupe, halved and seeds removed
3 oz prosciutto, sliced in 1/2-inch strips
1. Make the balsamic drizzle: In a very small saucepan (I used a heavy 1 1/2-cup metal measuring cup) or very small not non-stick frying pan, combine the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes; bring it all to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the drizzle is reduce by half, about 15 minutes (it will take less time to reduce if you're using a frying pan). Remove the pan from the heat and let the drizzle cool. NOTE: the longer you let it cool the thicker it will be. So if you are really good about planning ahead, make it about an hour or so before you want to use it so it's nice and thick.
2. Scrape your grill grate with a wire brush and start the heat on high. You want the grill to be smoking hot so you get nice grill marks on the meat and the cantaloupe. It's especially important for the cantaloupe because the melon's stay on the grill needs to be brief so it doesn't get too soft. "Smoking hot" to me means between 475 and 500 on my gas grill's thermometer. Grills are all different, so you'll have to go by how you know your grill.
3. Use a medium-size cookie scoop to scoop out the melon, and put the balls on paper towels to drain a little (you want them as dry as possible before they go on the grill).
6. To serve, drizzle with the balsamic reduction and sprinkle with extra red pepper flakes. You can also serve these with extra reduction on the side for dipping.
This makes as many kabobs as you have melon balls and strips of prosciutto. I got about 8 (or was is 10?) kabobs out of the 1 melon.