Mojito Melon Balls
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 1/2cup granulated sugar
- 1/2cup water
- 1/3cup firmly packed fresh spearmint leaves or mixed mint and lemon verbena leaves, coarsely chopped, plus 8 mint leaves for garnish
- 2tablespoons light rum (optional)
- 1 personal-size seedless watermelon, or 1/4 large seedless watermelon
- 1 small to medium Crenshaw, Sharlyn, honeydew, Charantais, cantaloupe, or other melon
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus 1 lime for garnish
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling the pan to dissolve the sugar. Boil for about 1 minute until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and stir in the 1/3 cup mint leaves and rum (if using). Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
- While the syrup cools, cut the melons in half. Using a melon baller, scoop out 8 cups of melon balls, placing them in a large bowl. (Alternatively, cut the melon into about 1/2-inch cubes.)
- Pour the cooled syrup through a fine-mesh strainer held over the melon balls, pressing on the leaves to extract as much flavor as possible. Add the lime zest and juice and toss to coat. Cover tightly and refrigerate until very cold.
- Toss the melon balls again to coat. Scoop the balls into dessert glasses along with a spoonful or two of the juices. Stack the mint leaves for garnish, roll up tightly lengthwise, and cut crosswise into fine ribbons. Thinly slice the lime crosswise into rings. Just before serving, scatter the mint over the melon and decorate with the lime slices.
–This recipe reprinted with permission from the cookbook Farmers’ Market Desserts by Jennie Schacht