LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Each month, the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different commodity to highlight the variety and quality of products grown, raised or processed in the state. This month, Colorado cantaloupe is featured in our Sweet Chile Chicken and Grilled Cantaloupe Panini recipe.
Rocky Ford melons are recognized for their sweetness. Colorado ranks 4th nationally in cantaloupe production. In 2009, Colorado produced more than 59 million pounds of cantaloupe valued at nearly $13 million. Cantaloupes are very low in sodium, fat free and are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Look for Colorado cantaloupe at your local grocery store, farmers’ market or at restaurants across the state.
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C.,
Valley Country Club, Aurora, Colo.
2 slices Panini Bread
1 ea. 5oz. Chicken Breast, marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. Sweet Chile Sauce
1/4 ea. Cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and sliced
2 Tbsp. Rondele or Boursin Cheese Spread
1 ball Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
1 cup Mixed Greens
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinaigrette
Grill the marinated chicken until fully cooked, then glaze with the sweet chile sauce and remove from heat. Slightly season the sliced cantaloupe and grill until nicely marked.
Spread cheese on both slices of bread. Place the grilled cantaloupe on top of the cheese spread on one piece of bread. Slice the chicken on a bias and place on top of the cantaloupe. Place three slices of mozzarella on top of the chicken and then add the other slice of bread on top. Lightly butter both sides of the bread and place into a Panini press. Cook until the cheese has started to melt and the bread is golden brown.
Toss mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette. Separate the chicken from the bread, insert the mixed greens and reassemble the sandwich. Slice and serve. Visit www.coloradoagriculture.com  for a complete list of recipes.