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Melon-and-Strawberry Salad with Spicy Lemongrass Syrup

Photo: © Hallie Burton
Yield 6
Chiles add subtle heat to this exceptional fruit salad. Grace Parisi likes using any syrup left in the fruit bowl for cocktails; she mixes a little of it into rum and pours the drink over ice.

Ingredients

  • 2 plump lemongrass stalks, bruised and coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh hot red chiles, quartered lengthwise
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pound strawberries, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 pound cubed or white-fleshed melon such as Canary or Crenshaw, 3/4-inch peeled yellow
  • 2 tablespoons slivered mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup crčme fraîche

How to Make It

  1. Set a medium bowl in a large bowl filled with ice. In a medium saucepan, combine the lemongrass, chiles, lime zest and sugar with 1 cup of water and bring to boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the ice water bath and let chill for 15 minutes.

  2. In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the melon and mint. Strain the cooled lemongrass syrup over the fruit and toss gently. Refrigerate just until slightly chilled.

  3. In a bowl, stir the ginger into the crčme fraîche. Spoon the fruit salad into bowls, top with a dollop of the ginger cream and serve.