Miraculous Melon Salad

2012-12-18
I call this melon salad miraculous because the flavors may not seem to go together, but everything is delicious!  I had never seen cantaloupe paired with savory before I saw my roommate in college shaking black pepper onto her cantaloupe.  I had seen my Mom eat cantaloupe with chocolate ice cream, and I even thought that was strange.  However, having tried each end of the spectrum, I see that they both work.  This recipe is based on one from the same Cooking Light magazine that I found the Celery Walnut and Parmesean Salad.   As I’ve heard many times, you eat food first with your eyes.  The picture just made me crave it.  Not only will the end result look pretty, but it will be a crowd pleaser.  It has a little bit of everything… salty (of the prosciutto and parmigiano-reggiano), sweet (melon), and acid (lemon).  The black pepper just gives a touch of spice that ties everything together.

Here is a tip with this recipe: only put all the ingredients together if you are going to serve it immediately.  If everything is left to sit overnight, the prosciutto starts to break down, and the melon gets a little soggy.  Don’t worry, you can still prep things ahead of time!  Cut the cantaloupe and melon and store it in a separate container.  The rest only takes a minute.  The amount of everything is truly up to you.  For me, a serving ends up being that each little bowl gets one piece of sliced prosciutto, a couple shakes of pepper, shavings of cheese that lightly covers the top, and a generous squeeze of lemon over the top.  That’s pretty much it!  Even though you only need a half of each type of melon for this recipe, when you keep it separate, it is obviously still yummy on it’s own!  Also, feel free to use all of each fruit for this recipe.  I just based it on the amount of prosciutto that comes in a package of Boar’s Head (five strips).  Otherwise, in a pinch, you can buy both cantaloupe and honeydew melon in halves.  It will probably be a little more expensive, but if you are worried about leftovers, or don’t want to scoop seeds, it might be the way to go.

Feel free to skip right to the recipe, but I have a few tips to quickly and easily cut up melon.  First, wash the outside well.  Next, cut each melon in half, and scoop out seeds with a large spoon.  Cut each half in half, and in half again to create four slices.  With a sharp knife, cut right above the line of the rind (start on one side, go halfway, then spin around and finish cutting the fruit away from the rind).  By spinning the melon and starting at the top you won’t be cutting too close to the fingers on your other hand.  After cutting away the rind on each slice, creating little cubes of melon should be quick and easy.  You are free to grab a little spoon to create melon balls, but it won’t make it taste any better. 🙂

Note for Paleo enthusiasts: I have also made this recipe Paleo for my brother by eliminating the shaved parmesan cheese from his serving.  The prosciutto should have plenty of sodium to compensate for the absence of cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1/2 honeydew melon, cubed
  • 1 package of proscuitto, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, freshly shaved
  • Juice of 1 lemon, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • 1. Cut cantaloupe and honeydew melon in half, remove seeds, cut melon into cubes
  • 2. Place cantaloupe and honeydew melon in a large bowl
  • 3. Slice prosciutto into thin strips, gently stir evenly into melon
  • 4. With lemon zest tool or cheese grater, shave (about 1/4 cup for whole recipe) parmigiano-reggiano into melon mix, tossing gently
  • 5. Add about 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 6. Squeeze the juice of a lemon (without the seeds) to coat mixture (about 1/4 cup)
  • 7. Enjoy!