In the summertime, I enjoy fuss-free meals more than ever. The California breeze is a little warmer and the pace of life just a little slower.
I feel out of place spending too much time in the kitchen when there’s so much to enjoy outside. My usual preference for cabernet sauvignon is gradually replaced with chilled brut, while leafy greens get nudged aside in favor of gorgeous melons.
This prosciutto melon salad, in particular, is a summertime favorite.
In France, people often enjoy this salad with the charentais melon. Charentais is a type of cantaloupe, more fragrant and sweet than a regular cantaloupe.
In fact, their aroma is absolutely heavenly and not even comparable to regular cantaloupe. The charentais variety is also smaller, and has a thinner skin that’s smooth rather than web-like. They’re luscious and sweet as honey, which is why it’s best not to fuss too much with them.
They’re perfect for a simple summer salad like this.
The French like to wrap wedges of the charentais melon with prosciutto, much like Italians do. This prosciutto melon salad is a wonderful appetizer, or even a light lunch if you go by the portion presented in the photos here.
A prosciutto melon salad can be best distinguished by its wonderful play on sweet and salty. If you choose your cantaloupe correctly, you’ll be rewarded with a sweet and juicy melon that pairs wonderfully with the delicate, savory prosciutto.
This is also the place to use high-quality prosciutto, as its texture and taste will really shine through.
This prosciutto melon salad also has a delightfully light and easy dressing made with just olive oil (or basil oil, like I prefer to do) and balsamic vinegar, as well as a quick grind of sea salt and pepper. The bit of basil on top adds a layer of freshness and vibrancy that rounds out this salad perfectly.
Prosciutto Melon Salad
Sweet cantaloupe wedges wrapped in prosciutto and garnished with balsamic and fresh basil.
- 4 large wedges of cantaloupe rind removed
- 4 slices of prosciutto
- 1 small bunch basil leaves
- 3 tbsp basil oil or olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Wrap each cantaloupe wedge with a slice of prosciutto, then plate each cantaloupe.
Mix the oil with the balsamic, before drizzling a small bit over each cantaloupe.
Add a tiny pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper to each cantaloupe before garnishing them with some basil leaves.