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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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