Prosciutto and Melon is a classic Italian pairing that’s always a hit! Sweet, juicy melon perfectly complements salty, rich prosciutto, while a tangy balsamic glaze adds an extra layer of complexity. This appetizer is ideal for warm summer evenings or sophisticated dinner parties.Jump to Recipe
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Simple to make: This recipe takes just 10 minutes and has only four ingredients.
- Perfect for parties: The elegant presentation makes prosciutto and cantaloupe perfect for dinner parties or any summer gatherings.
- Balanced flavors: The sweet melon pairs beautifully with the salty prosciutto, while the balsamic glaze adds a tangy finish that everyone loves!
- Healthy: Melons are a great source of hydration and vitamins, and prosciutto is high in protein, making this appetizer both nutritious and delicious.
What is Prosciutto and Melon?
As soon as summer hits, I’m all about quick, easy, and refreshing dishes like cheese-stuffed olives, avocado mango salsa, tuna tartare, and prosciutto and melon! I love that I don’t even have to turn my oven on to prepare a classy and sophisticated appetizer like this.
While the thought of prosciutto and cantaloupe may seem odd, it’s a combination that dates back to ancient Rome! “Prosciutto e melone” has been a beloved pairing in Italian cuisine ever since.
Sweet, refreshing cantaloupe contrasts with salty, savory prosciutto, creating a flavor profile that’s perfectly balanced between sweet and salty. Add a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a tangy kick that ties everything together.
The vibrant orange color of the melon against the pink prosciutto and rich balsamic glaze is always a conversation starter. Serve it cold as an appetizer or a palate cleanser between courses for the ultimate summer dining experience.
How to Pick the Perfect Melon
Selecting a ripe, flavorful melon is an art. Here are a few pointers to help you choose the perfect cantaloupe for your prosciutto and melon recipe:
- Uniformity: Choose a melon that has a uniform shape. Irregularities may indicate uneven ripening or growth issues.
- Weight: A ripe melon will feel heavy for its size. This is because a fully mature melon has a high water content, which adds to its weight.
- Color: The outer skin should be a creamy beige color. Green or white spots may indicate the melon is underripe.
- Smell: Ripe cantaloupes will have a sweet, slightly musky aroma. If there’s no scent, the melon is likely underripe. A strong, overly sweet smell could suggest overripeness or fermentation.
- Press the ends: The stem end should have a slight give when pressed gently. If it’s too hard, the melon may be unripe. If it’s too soft, it might be overripe.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cantaloupe: Adds a sweet, juicy flavor and vibrant color. You can replace it with any other type of sweet melon like honeydew or Galia.
- Prosciutto: Thinly sliced cured ham provides the perfect balance of salty, savory notes. If you can’t find prosciutto, substitute it with other types of cured ham like capicola, pancetta, culatello, or serrano dry-cured ham.
- Balsamic glaze: If you don’t have a balsamic glaze, you can replace it with a reduction of balsamic vinegar and honey or use a ready-made glaze.
- Basil: Optional, but I think fresh basil adds a delicious herbal note and a pop of color. Or, you can replace it with mint for a different flavor profile.
How to Make Prosciutto and Melon
- Prepare the cantaloupe: First, remove the flesh from the rind of the cantaloupe and cut it into 12 wedges.
- Wrap with prosciutto: Take a slice of prosciutto and wrap it around each melon wedge, making sure it wraps all the way around.
- Serve: Arrange the wrapped melon wedges on a platter, drizzle them with balsamic glaze, and sprinkle torn basil leaves on top. This appetizer is best served cold for the most refreshing flavors.
Prosciutto and cantaloupe is an incredibly flexible dish that works as a stand-alone appetizer or as an addition to a multi-course menu. Here are a few ideas for how to serve it:
- Cheese board: This classic pairing works well with aged cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or burrata. The sweetness of the melon and saltiness of the prosciutto balances rich cheeses incredibly well. Include it in your next charcuterie board night!
- Bread: A fresh baguette or rustic Italian bread not only complements the flavors but also adds the perfect crunch to contrast the softness of the prosciutto-wrapped melon.
- Wine: If you’re a wine enthusiast like me, try a light, crisp white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, or an Italian Pinot Grigio to enhance the flavors of this appetizer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Definitely! If you want to experiment with flavors, try using honeydew or Galia melons as an alternative to cantaloupe. Both of them offer unique flavor profiles that pair well with prosciutto.
Yes, this prosciutto and melon appetizer is best served chilled. Since it’s chilled, it offers a refreshing contrast to the salty prosciutto and enhances the crispness of the melon.
Absolutely! This dish is naturally gluten-free. It’s made from fresh melon, cured prosciutto, and balsamic glaze. Just be sure to check specific brands for any gluten-containing additives.
If you have any leftover prosciutto and cantaloupe, follow these simple storage tips:
- Fridge: Cover leftovers with plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 2 days.
- Freezer: Freezing prosciutto and melon is not recommended since it will drastically change the texture of both the melon and prosciutto.
- Prep ahead: You can prepare this dish a few hours in advance and keep it chilled in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
- Cheese: Add a slice of mozzarella between the melon and prosciutto.
- Skewers: Skewer the prosciutto-wrapped melon with mozzarella balls and basil leaves.
- Figs: Add fresh figs for a little more sweetness.
- Different fruits: Try using other fruits like pears, apples, or grapes for a unique twist on the original recipe.
- Chill before serving: This dish tastes best when it’s served cold, so I suggest chilling the melon and other ingredients before assembling.
- Use thin prosciutto: Make sure the prosciutto is thinly sliced for the best texture.
- Tear the basil: If you’re using herbs, tear the basil leaves instead of chopping them to prevent bruising.
- Serve immediately: This dish is best served immediately after preparation for the most refreshing flavors.
Looking for More Appetizers?
If you enjoyed this prosciutto and melon recipe, be sure to check out some more of my summer favorites like these:
If you try this Prosciutto and Melon recipe, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Refreshing Prosciutto and Melon
- Remove the flesh from the rind of the cantaloupe. Cut into 12 wedges.
- Wrap each wedge of cantaloupe with a slice of prosciutto.
- Arrange on a platter, drizzle with balsamic glaze and tear basil leaves on top (optional). Serve cold.