Roasted Shrimp, Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad


1 7-pound watermelon (You will not use all of the watermelon, but 7 pounds will provide some leeway for mistakes when slicing it.)
1 13-ounce goat-cheese log, unwrapped and chilled in the refrigerator until hard
¾ pound shrimp, 31-35 count (total of 20 shrimp)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
5 tablespoons extra light olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Serves 6

Cut 3 slices of the watermelon; each slice should be about 2 inches thick.

Using a round cookie cutter (2½ inches in diameter x 1¾ inches deep), cut as many circles as possible from each of the 3 slices. Then cut each circle into slices about ¼ inch thick. You should have about 26 to 28 watermelon slices in all. That’s more than you probably will need, but mistakes do happen, so it’s a good idea to have plenty of extras on hand - plus, if you are anything like me, you’ll end up tasting a few along the way! Set the watermelon slices aside.

Cut the goat-cheese log into ¼-inch slices. Before you start, make sure the cheese is quite hard, as that will prevent the slices from falling apart as you cut them. Set the slices aside.

Make watermelon "towers" by sandwiching 2 slices of goat cheese between 3 slices of watermelon. You’ll have 6 towers when you’re finished.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the spices and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then place in a nonstick, oven-safe pan and roast in the oven for 7 minutes. Take the pan out and let the shrimp rest for 1 minute. Top each cheese-and-watermelon tower with 3 of the shrimp. You’ll wind up with a couple of extra shrimp; those are for the chef to enjoy along with the unused watermelon slices!

To serve:

Place the cheese-and-watermelon towers on a serving plate. Top the shrimp with fresh basil, drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil around the plate, and add a few drops of vinegar.