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Melon Carpaccio with Lime

['1/2 cup sugar', '4 sprigs mint plus small leaves for garnish', '1/2 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh red chile (such as jalapeño or Fresno)', '1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise', '1/2 cup fresh lime juice', '1/2 5-pounds melon (such as honeydew), peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4" slices', 'Coconut, mango, or lemon sorbet (optional)', '1/2 teaspoon lime zest']

Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add mint sprigs and chile. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Remove syrup from heat; cover and let steep for 15 minutes for flavors to infuse.
Strain syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; stir in lime juice. DO AHEAD: Syrup can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled.
Arrange melon slices in a 13x9x2" glass baking dish. Pour syrup over melon in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours to allow flavors to meld.
Divide melon slices among plates, overlapping them decoratively. Pour remaining syrup in dish into a small pitcher. DO AHEAD: Melon carpaccio can be made up to 5 hours ahead. Cover and chill melon and remaining syrup separately.
Drizzle some of syrup over melon. Place a scoop of sorbet in center of each plate, if using; garnish with mint leaves and lime zest.

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