When it comes to an easy summer appetiser, Prosciutto and Melon is an all-time favourite and a definite crowd-pleaser. There is something enticing about the combination of salty and sweet flavours which is universally appealing. This classic Italian dish, called Prosciutto e Melone in Italy, embraces the flavour combination of sweet melon and salty prosciutto.
125g(4.5 oz) prosciutto di Parma - thinly sliced (about 8 large slices)
2tablespoonextra virgin olive oilSee Note 2
10largebasil leaves - optional
freshly ground black pepper - to taste
For a whole melon, thoroughly wash the skin to remove any dirt, pesticides and possible bacteria. You may feel that this step is not necessary as you will be peeling the melon. However, as you cut the melon skin, any dirt or bacteria will be transferred by the knife to the flesh. For safe food preparation, it is an important step.
Begin by cutting off both ends of the melon, the stem end and the opposite end which is the blossom end. This ensures that you have a flat, stable base to cut the melon. Stand the melon on its end, and using a large, sharp knife, in a downward motion, follow the natural curve of the melon and remove the peel. Continue around the melon, trying to not remove too much of the orange flesh.
When you’ve finished, if you still have some green strips, use your knife to remove them. Now, you can cut your melon in half. Leave it sitting on its flat base and cut down through the centre.Use a dessert spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane and discard.
Place one half in an airtight container or cover well with cling wrap and refrigerate for another use. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively, cut the melon into cubes and freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. Be sure to label and date the container as it is often difficult to identify frozen items. Now, cut the remaining half crossways into halves and cut each half lengthways so you have 4 pieces. Cut each piece into 4 wedges.
Cut each slice of prosciutto in half and wrap around a wedge of melon.Arrange on a serving platter. (See Note 3)
Stack the basil leaves on top of each other, roll up and slice them finely. Scatter across the top of the melon.
Top with freshly grated black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with crusty bread if you wish.
This recipe uses a half rockmelon/cantaloupe. However, my preference is to buy a whole melon so I can thoroughly wash the skin before cutting it and use the remaining half for another purpose.
In Australia, the tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. Please adjust your measurement if necessary.
You can prepare the Prosciutto and Melon wedges to this stage 2 hours in advance. Put on a platter and cover well with cling wrap. Shortly before serving them, remove from the fridge to slightly reduce the chill and proceed with the remaining steps as you are ready to serve.