Last weekend on our way home from a round of golf last we stopped at a farm stand which had some really big cantaloupes. Like as big as my head big. When I saw them I knew I’d be doing something with one for this week’s post. If it’s hot and miserable where you are, like it’s been here, then this cold melon and prosciutto soup will help. Very light and refreshing, and full of flavor!
Ok so we know the classic combination, prosciutto and melon. Sweet and salty. Don’t mess with the good thing, right? You know by now that while I do like traditional pairings I also like to get creative with them. So, how to do that here? Puree the melon into a soup and add cubes of prosciutto. I went a little further too, crisping up the ham pieces a little on a griddle. Still has the saltiness you want to balance and play off the sweetness of the melon but I thought it could add some texture.
What else to add though? I really liked the minimalist aspect of the melon soup but felt it needed something else, another layer. My trusty tome, The Flavor Bible, gave a few options, like ginger, basil, and mint. While I was intrigued by basil I opted for the mint since I have a big plant growing in the herb garden out back. Lemon was also on the list, which wasn’t surprising, and since you always need a shot of acid in your soups I squeezed some in. Works great, really sharpens and brightens the melon.
I was really surprised the melon didn’t need to be passed through a sieve in order to make it smooth. I thought there could be some pulp I might have had to strain out but there was not. I don’t know if it was the super-ripeness of the melon but there are no noticeable solids in the soup. So try to get a really ripe melon.
After doing some taste testing I think I may have crisped the prosciutto a little too much. Cheryl commented it was an unexpected texture which took getting used to. But she did say she liked the bursts of saltiness. I can see her point on this. It does kind of feel a little awkward but whatever. Play with it. Maybe a fine chop/slice to the prosciutto would be better, keeping with the soft texture of the soup.
Soooooo good for the hot humid days we’ve been having. Wish I had another of those melons.
Cold Melon and Prosciutto Soup (makes 4-6 servings)
- 1 large, ripe cantaloupe
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 3 oz cubed prosciutto or similar cured ham
- 2 Tbs fresh mint, chopped
Cut open the melon and remove seeds. Scoop out the melon and place chunks in a medium-sized sauce pot or similar sized bowl. I used a sauce pot because the stick/immersion blender works better in a pot. If you do not have a stick/immersion blender use your food processor or blender.
Blend/process until the melon is a smooth liquid. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Chill thoroughly in fridge.
Heat a frying pan or griddle on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the ham bits and crisp. Remove from stove and allow to cool.
Ladle chilled soup into cups/bowls/small glass. Top with mint and crispy ham pieces.