Fennel and Leeks

Fennel and Leeks

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe

My brother, Nick, was the first person to introduce me to Prosciutto and Melon. It must have been fifteen years ago at one of my favorite restaurants in Eugene, Oregon called Beppe and Gianni's Trattoria. I remember taking the first juicy bite and experiencing the combination of salty and sweet on my tongue. I was hooked that night but for some ridiculous reason, I have only eaten this dish a handful of times since.

Brad and I agreed to host an evening event for first grade parents from Olivia's school and went about deciding what type of food and beverages to prepare. Once we decided to offer heavy hor d'oeuvres accompanied by a selection of microbrew beers and Northwest wines, I had the perfect opportunity to prepare Prosciutto and Melon.....with a twist.

1 small cantaloupe
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
white balsamic vinegar
basil (optional)
extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Cut cantaloupe in half and use spoon to scoop out pulp and seeds. Cut each half into quarters and each quarter into 1/2" slices. If cantaloupe is large, cut slices in half to make canapé size pieces. Cut rind from each slice.

Cut prosciutto into 1/2" wide ribbons. Add a few drops of white balsamic to each slice of cantaloupe, then wrap each slice with a prosciutto ribbon. If desired, chiffonade several leaves of basil to adorn top of canapés. This is accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, and thinly slicing the leaves perpendicular to the roll. As a fun side note, chiffonade in french literally means "in rags". I also chose to drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the finished product. The nutty, savory flavor of olive oil suits my taste buds so I tend to add a drizzle to all sorts of dishes that I prepare.

Serve chilled; serves 20. I chose a white rectangular plate with a slanted edge as my serving vessel. As you can see in the photo below, the simplicity of the plate was perfect for showcasing the beautiful colors of the melon, prosciutto, and basil.

As mentioned by the author of this recipe, the twist is the heavy acidity of white balsamic vinegar. I liked the vinegar in contrast to the brininess of the prosciutto and sweetness of the melon so much, that I ended up putting four or five drops on each slice instead of only a few. The three flavor profiles worked beautifully together and once the basil was added for extra color and freshness, I was hooked. This dish is absolutely delicious and it went over like gangbusters at our event. The only change I would make next time is to double the recipe so each person can enjoy two pieces.

I used organic cantaloupe and basil with specialty prosciutto from Metropolitan Market for this recipe.

Source: sheknow.com