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Shrimp, Cantaloupe and Fresh Herb Skewers

Cubes of sweet cantaloupe are paired with marinated shrimp for a passed hors d’oeuvre that is flavorful, refreshing and easy to prepare. Look for medium-size shrimp, which are just the right size for a satisfying bite. This seafood dish pairs well with a citrusy cocktail, such as a margarita (see related recipe at left).

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. coconut cream, scooped from the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. snipped fresh chives
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 small red chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (36 shrimp)
  • 1/2 small cantaloupe

Directions:

In a bowl large enough to accommodate the shrimp, stir together the coconut cream, fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, chives, chopped mint and chili. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink and begin to curl, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the bowl with the coconut cream mixture and stir to coat evenly. Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

Cut the cantaloupe half into 6 wedges. Working with 1 wedge at a time, remove the rind and cut the wedge into 6 equal pieces. You should have a total of 36 cubes of cantaloupe, each about 3/4 inch wide.

Soak 36 wooden skewers in water to cover in a shallow baking dish for 30 minutes and then drain. Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator and drain in a colander.

To assemble the skewers, thread 1 shrimp and 1 piece of cantaloupe onto each skewer. Place the skewers in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The shrimp can be skewered up to 4 hours in advance.)

To serve, arrange the skewers down the center of a narrow platter or tray, positioning them so that the skewer ends are easy to grasp. Garnish the platter with mint sprigs. Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Entertaining with the Seasons (Free Press, 2010).