It just wouldn't be Summer without a little caprese in my life, but who says you have to make it with tomatoes? The Italians? Well, probably... but I think this version, using some of those sweet, late-summer Colorado melons that are widely available this time of year, is a delicious and beautiful alternative!
This version, pictured, was made as little hors d'oeuvres on lovely metal cocktail skewers (*see note below for skewer directions). You can also just combine all the ingredients in a big bowl and serve it family style, just don't use all of your oil and balsamic. I used a marvelous Etnia Spanish olive oil with merquen (a Spanish smoked chile and cumin spice mix) to make this dish more interesting and flavorful, but a basil-infused olive oil, garlic oil, or even just regular olive oil with work fine.
Colorado Melon Caprese
1 medium (or 2 small) heirloom melon, washed
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1 bunch green basil
1 bunch purple basil
1 8-oz. container fresh mozzarella ciliegine (the small, bite-sized balls)
about 1/4 cup olive oil with merquen (or your favorite infused olive oil)
about 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Using a melon baller, scoop out little bite-sized balls of melon until no more flesh remains. Place melon balls in a bowl and gently toss with lemon juice. Tear the larger basil leaves into small, 1" pieces and leave smaller leaves whole. Add mozzarella and basil and toss ingredients to mix. Drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss and serve immediately.
*To assemble skewers: make individual caprese bites using reusable metal cocktail skewers. First, spear a melon ball, followed by a purple basil leaf and then a green basil leaf. Follow with a piece of mozarella, then drizzle each skewer with oil and balsamic and lightly season with salt and pepper, to taste.