If you are looking for something company worthy to nibble on a hot summer evening on the deck, this is the perfect salad for you. Citrusy grilled chicken, smoky grilled red pepper, tender avocado and sweet cantaloupe all combine to make one incredible salad.To make the presentation more dramatic, you can serve it in scooped out cantaloupe shells.
Special Occasion Grilled Chicken and Melon Salad
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 tsp grated lime rind
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp finely minced ginger root
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 sweet red pepper (cut into 4 pieces, with the seeds/core removed)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, woody outside removed and thinly sliced into little pieces(optional)
2 ripe avocados, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or coriander
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
lime wedges (garnish)
Whisk together the orange and lime rinds, juices, oil, ginger, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Pour half into a dish and add the chicken to marinate. Cover with cling film and chill overnight. Reserve the remaining marinade, cover and chill as well.
The next day, place the pieces of chicken onto skewers and place on a greased grill, turning and cooking until they are no longer pink inside and cooked through. Brush the pieces of red pepper with a bit of oil and grill them as well until they are slightly charred and soft. Both can also be cooked in an oven under a broiler, on a foil lined broiler pan. Let cool. Slice the pepper into bite sized pieces.
Meanwhile, cut the cantaloupes in half and scoop out the seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop the flesh out of the cantaloupes. Smooth out the sides with a knife so that they don’t look all choppy from the melon baller. Place the pieces of cantaloupe in a large bowl. It’s a good idea to set the shells upside down over the sink or a plate so that the liquid can drain out of them a bit. You might want to cut a thin slice out of the rounded end of each cantaloupe half so that they sit nicely on the plate; otherwise they might roll around on you.
Add your cooled chicken, sweet red pepper, red onion, lemongrass, garlic, coriander/basil, and avocado to the bowl with the melon. Pour over the reserved dressing and toss gently.
Pile into the drained cantaloupe shells and serve.