Only two ingredients are needed for this recipe. That makes it real easy, but also means that the quality of ingredients is paramount. The proscuitto should be selected based on your personal tastes. My preference is for a salty (but not overwhelmingly so) proscuitto from the shoulder that is not so dry that it crumbles when chewed. I also like the proscuitto to have a bit of chew, but cut so thinly that it almost feels like it should dissolve in my mouth. How do you find the right proscuitto? If your deli counter sells different varieties, ask to taste them.
For the melon, honeydew and muskmelon (sold as cantaloupes) are the most common in the U.S. You'll want an extremely ripe melon for this dish. Melons don't get sweeter off the vine (although their aroma may continue to develop), so make sure you select a good one at the market. The skin of the melon should be firm and free of bruising or soft spots. The skin of honeydews will also have changed from greenish to light yellow. The stem end should not be green on any melon, and the end of the melon opposite of the stem should have a nice strong aroma, but not one that smells odd or fermenting (this usually means the melon is overripe).
You'll need about 12 ounces of thinly sliced proscuitto for half a medium sized melon. I generally only use half a melon for this recipe and use the other half for eating as is.
Wash the melon with soap and water. The external surface of the melon can carry microbes that cause food poisoning, so it's best to wash it before cutting through it (especially since we're eating this raw). A muskmelon (American cantaloupe) has a bumpy netted surface that should be scrubbed.
Cut the melon from pole to pole. A safe way to do this is to cut a thin slice off the stem end and stand the melon up on the cut side. Slice the melon in half. Remove the collected juice, seeds and webbing. Cut the melon into bite sized pieces either by slicing into wedges and then into chunks or using a melon baller.
Cut the proscuitto slices into strips that are large enough to wrap around the melon pieces or balls. I found that a 1-in. by 4-in. strip was the perfect size for my melon balls. Wrap the proscuitto slice around the melon piece and make sure that the ends of the proscuitto slice overlap a little. Thrust a toothpick through the overlap and out the other side to secure the proscuitto to the melon.
Serve immediately or chill thoroughly before serving. Chilled proscuitto e melone is preferred by many because there is not only opposing sweetness and saltiness but also a perceived temperature difference between the ice cold melon and the seemingly warmer proscuitto.}?>
Prosciutto e Melone
|12 oz. (340 g) Proscuitto di Parma, sliced thinly||cut into strips||wrap & secure with toothpick|
|1/2 honeydew, cantaloupe, or muskmelon||ball or cut into bite sized pieces|