Prosciutto and melon is a classic Italian antipasto dish which combines two contrasting flavors for a surprisingly delicious combination.
Most people outside of Italy overcomplicate this prosciutto and melon appetizer. Read on for the authentic Italian prosciutto and melon antipasto.
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You’ve just tasted the best cantaloupe you’ve ever had, and paired with a certified prosciutto, the simplicity of the flavors have you feeling refreshed and ready for a bowl of pasta—maybe spaghetti alla carbonara?
Okay, back to wherever you are in the world. With the best of ingredients, you can recreate this in your own home. The sweet, refreshing flavor of melon paired with a top quality dry cured prosciutto—that is, a DOP certified prosciutto from Italy—is unmatched. It’s a classic Italian combination for good reason.
Does the Prosciutto I buy Matter?
Short answer is yes. You can buy whichever prosciutto fits your palette and budget, but the best quality prosciutto, and the most well-known, will be certified from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy–Prosciutto di Parma, DOP–which is quality checked in 10 stages.
There’s also Prosciutto Toscana, DOP from Tuscany, which is flavored with spices, unlike the Parma ham. As long as the prosciutto is certified DOP from Italy, you can be assured of the quality (there are others besides these two listed). Here’s a recipe I created for Prosciutto di San Daniele, an appetizer using potatoes, prosciutto, truffle cheese and arugula.
Do Italians eat Prosciutto with Melon?
Yes, this is an authentic Italian combination. It is served as an antipasto, or appetizer. However, other recipes I have seen online include all sorts of additional ingredients. If you like to eat prosciutto and melon made that way, that’s absolutely fantastic, and go right ahead, just know that it is not the way it is served in Italy. You should also never try to serve it other than this authentic way to an Italian (from Italy), or me. 🤣
Another classic Italian antipasto: bruschetta with tomato.
Is Prosciutto Cooked or Raw?
Prosciutto is not cooked, but cured, and is safe to eat as is. You can read about my tour of a prosciutto factory in Parma along with the best way to eat prosciutto. If prosciutto is certified as Prosciutto di Parma, DOP, it means that a qualified inspector from the Istituto Parma Qualità has given the brand stamp of approval. In my opinion, you can taste the difference between a real Parma ham and a copy.
Does it Matter Which Type of Cantaloupe I buy?
While you can make this appetizer with any type of cantaloupe, it is best served with a Tuscan-Style cantaloupe. Tuscan melons are sweeter than other melons—they actually have a slightly different flavor profile than your typical melons—with a Brix (measure of sugar content in an aqueous solution) sugar level of 14-16, rather than the usual 11.
The easiest way to spot them in stores is through their natural “netted” look, and the green lines in the melon that make for easy slicing. However, if you grow your own cantaloupes, or have a sweet melon, you should definitely use those as well.
This prosciutto and melon isn’t so much a recipe as it is a clarification of its simplicity. There is no need to sprinkle with cracked pepper, or even drizzle with oil or vinegar. There should never be more than two ingredients in this antipasto, it’s just perfect as is. I believe that without using the right ingredients, the dish lacks flavor, which is where the extra ingredients come into play, sadly.
With the very best of ingredients, the only thing you’ll need is a plate on which to put the prosciutto and melon.
Prosciutto and Melon (Prosciutto e Melone)
Recipe by Christina Conte Serves 6
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
- Prosciutto di Parma, DOP (Costco carries this)
- Tuscan melon, or cantaloupe
Prepare the Melon
Slice the melon into pieces lengthways, (remove the rind or leave it on) and then cut almost all the way through to the rind.
Add the Prosciutto
Next, simply place the pieces of prosciutto on top of the slices of melon, and use a knife to push it down into each cut. These are eaten with a knife and fork.
Create skewers by cutting the melon into small cubes and interspersing them between half slices of bundled prosciutto.
Using cubes of melon, top with a bundle of prosciutto and stick with a cocktail pick or toothpick.
Plate and serve as a bite-sized appetizer, or afternoon snack, and serve with your desired cocktail. Optional: pretend you’re in Italy.
If you’re a prosciutto fiend like me, you’ll probably love my recipe for burrata and prosciutto focaccia. Another show-stopping and incredibly delicious appetizer or light meal.
If you’ve never tried prosciutto with melon, I hope you take this as a sign to give it a try! Let me know if you do!
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- 2 packages Prosciutto di Parma, DOP (Costco carries it)
- 1 Tuscan melon, or cantaloupe
Prepare the Melon
- Slice the melon into pieces lengthways, (remove the rind or leave it on). Then cut almost all the way through to the rind.
Add the Prosciutto
- Next, simply place the pieces of prosciutto on top of the slices of melon, and use a knife to push it down into each cut.
- These are eaten with a knife and fork.
- Create skewers by cutting the melon into small cubes.
- Intersperse melon between half slices of bundled prosciutto
- Using cubes of melon, top with a bundle of prosciutto and stick with a cocktail pick or toothpick
- Plate and serve as a bite-sized appetizer, or afternoon snack, and serve with your desired cocktail. Optional: pretend you’re in Italy.
- Be sure to use the best quality ingredients for this simple appetizer.
- The typical way of serving this is wrapping a piece of prosciutto around the slice of melon.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 60Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information is only estimated.
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