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Cantaloupe and Spinach Salad with Ancho Chile-Lime Vinaigrette

(recipe, Sophia Markoulakis)

Introduction

This salad can easily feed four as a main course when served with chilled cooked shrimp or other shellfish. Latin American-flavored grilled flank steak would also pair nicely with the smokiness of the dried chile.

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups peeled thinly sliced cantaloupe, about 3 inches long
  2. 1½ tsp. ground ancho chile (see Note)
  3. Juice of 1½ limes
  4. ½ tsp. salt
  5. ½ tsp. sugar
  6. ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 8 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves (about half of a 9-ounce bag)
  8. ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  9. ½ cup thinly sliced Persian or Japanese cucumber (English would work as well)

Steps

  1. Place the cantaloupe, 1 tsp. of ground ancho chile, the juice of ½ lime, and ¼ tsp. salt in a bowl. Toss to coat and set aside for up to one hour.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the juice of 1 lime, ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. ground ancho chile, and ½ tsp. sugar. Whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved. In a steady stream, slowly pour olive oil into bowl while whisking to emulsify.
  3. Place the spinach leaves on a large platter and top with the cantaloupe. Add any remaining juice from the cantaloupe to the vinaigrette. Top the spinach with the onions and cucumbers and spoon the vinaigrette on top. Serve immediately.

Note

You can buy ground ancho chile at any good grocery store. Don't buy ground chile powder, because the powder often contains other ingredients besides chile. Read more about muskmelons in Sophia Markoulakis' "Muskmelons."