Prosciutto e melone (Prosciutto and Melon)

One of my favorite things to eat in late summer is prosciutto e melone.

The silky saltiness of the paper-thin ham delicately draped over sweet, heady melon is truly irresistible this time of year.

How’s that for a extra-hefty dose of hyperbole?

But seriously, it’s hard not to wax poetically about it. If the melons are ripe and fragrant (melons have been in the market for a few weeks now), and the prosciutto is the finest San Daniele you can get your hands on, you should.

There is no recipe for prosciutto and melon, because it is exactly just that: prosciutto and melon.

I feel very strongly, though, that as there are only 2 ingredients, there should be some clear guidelines:

1. If you do not have ripe melons, do not make prosciutto e melone.

2. Some people think honeydew is an acceptable melon. It is not.

Cantaloupe or nothing, people.

3. Do not use domestic prosciutto, which is fine for cooking, but it too salty for salad. You want the good stuff: the golden pinky-hued San Daniele. The best you can buy. You don’t need too much of it. About a quarter pound is more than enough for two people.

Buy the best. It is worth it.

4. Just slice your melon. You can do wedges or melon balls, however you want it. Drape the ham seductively across it. You want sexy ham folds, ribbons of air-dried pork tufted like satin pig-sheets over your musky melon. That’s what you want.

Do not:

1. . . . wrap your prosciutto around your melon like this.

2. . . . wrap your prosciutto around your melon, and impale it on a skewer with a freakin’ cherry tomato like this.

3.  . . . drizzle it with olive oil. Do not add pepper. It does not need salt. It doesn’t.

4.  . . . add a ball of mozzarella cheese, a glop of pesto, a shred of basil, dusting of dried herbs, or a bed of greens. Don’t sauce it. Don’t even have a sauce near it. Just don’t.

It is truly best as it is!


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