Recipes for the Season: Spicy-Sweet Grilled Cantaloupe Salad

By Chef Rich Baringer,

I love combining flavors that don’t always seem to go together—especially sweet and spicy.  If you’ve ever had chocolate with hot pepper you know what I’m talking about. There’s just something about those two tastes together that does something to your taste buds.

Well, here’s a recipe that will satisfy your sweet-spicy fix.  It’s simple and uses some of the great ingredients that are abundant in your garden, CSA or farmers’ market.  I made it at a demo at Blooming Glen Farm and it was a big hit…for those who like a little heat.

Grilling melon may be a bit foreign to some people, but I think just a short time on the grill brings out the sweetness of the fruit. You wouldn’t have to grill it, but I think it adds to the overall flavor of the salad.

Spicy-sweet Grilled Cantaloupe Salad

Serves 6
Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of jalapeno to suit your taste.


½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 medium cantaloupes (you can use honeydew too), seeded and cut into thick wedges
Vegetable oil
2 Tbsp mint, minced


  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and add jalapeno slices. Chill. (This can be done a couple of days ahead of time.)
  2. Preheat grill to high. Brush and oil grill grate.
  3. Brush melon wedges lightly with vegetable oil.  Grill until grill marks are showing—3-4 minutes per side. Remove them if the flesh starts to get too soft.
  4. Remove from the grill and let cool for a couple of minutes. Then remove the rind and cut the flesh into bite-sized chunks.
  5. Place melon in a bowl and pour jalapeno syrup over the melon. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with mint and serve with a slotted spoon.

Rich Baringer is chef/owner of Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service.  Rich grew up in Haycock Township and has lived (and eaten) in Bucks County his whole life. He now lives in Blooming Glen Village with his wife, Mary Beth, his son Jake, and their new pup, Teddy. Rich graduated from the Culinary Business Academy in Atlanta, is a member of the U.S. Personal Chef Association and owns Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service. For more information about Dinner’s Done PCS, contact Rich at 215.804.6438, or check out his website.

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