Prosciutto and Melon

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Prosciutto and melon is a tasty shareable appetizer with a sweet and salty combination. Guests will also love the homemade balsamic glaze that pairs nicely with the fruit and dry-cured ham.

prosciutto and melon on a white platter
Table of Contents
  1. Melon selection
  2. Meat selection
  3. Wrap the melon
  4. Make a balsamic glaze
  5. Serve this with
  6. FAQ
  7. Prosciutto and Melon Recipe

When juicy melons are in season during the summer, I like to use them to make this delicious appetizer. All you need is two ingredients- thinly sliced prosciutto and pieces of cantaloupe or honeydew, or both melons! I also have a delightful balsamic glaze to drizzle on top for tanginess to balance the sweet and salty notes.

For the best taste, I prefer to use fresh melon. It may seem a little intimidating to peel and cut, but I assure you it’s easy! I’ll show you a few simple knife skills to make hearty wedges, perfect for wrapping with ham. This Italian-inspired appetizer is a fast yet fancy dish to share at your next barbecue or special occasion.

Melon selection

Cantaloupe is the classic choice for this dish because the sweet orange flesh is super juicy. To add a colorful contrast, you can also use green honeydew. Both are from the same species Cucumis melo and have similar firm textures. Their sturdy structure is ideal for wrapping with thinly sliced cured meat. 

Choose a ripe melon that feels heavy and has a fragrant aroma. Peel the rind, remove the seeds, and cut them into wedges. I find that ¾-inch thick pieces, trimmed to about 5-inches in length, are just the right size for one portion. For smaller servings, you can use a melon baller to create spheres or just cut them into chunks. This size works great for adding a few pieces to a skewer.

ingredients laid out on a cutting board

Recipe Resources

Meat selection

I use paper-thin slices of prosciutto sold in the refrigerated section at markets. When served uncooked, like for this recipe, the style is called prosciutto crudo. It has an intense savory flavor with a hint of sweetness and richness from the streaks of fat. 

When paired with the refreshing, juicy melon, the mix of sweet and salty notes burst with flavor. I use one slice per melon wedge, about ½ ounce in weight. You can also cut them in half if serving smaller pieces.

Wrap the melon

Tightly wrap each piece of cantaloupe or honeydew with one slice of prosciutto. The meat is very delicate, so be careful not to rip it when removing it from the package. I prefer to roll it onto the cantaloupe to control the overlap. You can even add fresh basil to each piece or slice some for garnish for an herbaceous note.

Make a balsamic glaze

To add some dimension to prosciutto-wrapped melon, make a balsamic vinegar reduction. The acidity enhances the salty meat flavor and helps to cut some of the richness in the fat. The fermented, aged vinegar concentrates and thickens into a sweet, tangy sauce. 

Add some honey or pure maple syrup for extra sweetness and more solids for a thicker consistency. The process takes about 25 minutes to evaporate the water. As the mixture cools, it will have a syrup-like character. Drizzle some on top right before serving. I also like to use it on my caprese salad for an extra punch of flavor.

drizzling a spoon of balsamic glaze over the fruit

Serve this with

FAQ

What is prosciutto crudo?

Crudo is a raw, Italian dry-cured aged ham made from salted pork legs. The slices of meat are skinny, making it easy to eat and for fat to melt on the tongue. Each region produces its particular version, like prosciutto di Parma, Modena, Toscano, or Carpegna, with Protected Designation of Origin (POD). You can also find varieties seasoned with herbs like rosemary or spices like garlic and black pepper for more fragrant pieces.

What does prosciutto pair well with?

Serve the raw slices as an appetizer like on an antipasti platter. It pairs well with melons, figs, pears, crisp vegetables, crusty bread, aged cheese, and its saltiness is ideal for topping on pasta and pizza.

What wine goes well with prosciutto and melon?

Sparkling wine like prosecco or champagne, or a crisp chilled glass of sangiovese, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, or rosé. I love a Riesling or Moscato d’Asti for a sweeter option.

What’s the difference between cantaloupe and honeydew?

Both have sweet, juicy, firm flesh and are from the same species Cucumis melo. Cantaloupe has a beige netted rind and orange flesh with over twice as much Vitamin C and A compared to the green flesh of honeydew [source]. The green melon has very smooth skin and is harder to detect when ripe.

tray of cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto

Best enjoyed the same day

If you wrap the ham around the fruit and store it overnight, the salt from the meat will draw out the fruit’s juices due to osmosis. This process creates a puddle of moisture on the bottom of the container, making the appetizer soggy in texture.

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Prosciutto and Melon

This prosciutto and melon served with a homemade balsamic glaze make for a tasty shareable appetizer with a sweet and salty combination.
Pin Print Review
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 12 cantaloupe wedges, ¾-inch thick, or honeydew
  • 6 ounces prosciutto, 12 slices

Instructions 

  • Add balsamic vinegar and honey to a small saucepan, stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer over medium-low heat with some bubbling. Reduce the sauce to about ¼ to ⅓ cup, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the balsamic reduction to cool slightly. It should have a maple syrup consistency.
  • Wash, dry, and cut the melon into twelve, 3/4-inch thick wedges. Trim to create about 5-inch long pieces.
  • Wrap each melon wedge with one piece of prosciutto.
  • Drizzle the balsamic reduction over each piece then serve immediately.

Notes

  • Cutting the Melon: Wedges can be sliced and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wait to wrap the prosciutto around the fruit until the day of serving.
  • Balsamic Glaze: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Gently reheat if needed. Dilute with warm water if very thick. For a quicker option, use store-bought products.

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Nutrition Facts
Prosciutto and Melon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 252 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 9mg3%
Sodium 183mg8%
Potassium 1505mg43%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 45g50%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 18674IU373%
Vitamin C 203mg246%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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