Couple years ago I took a trip with my family to Italy and one of my favorite dishes from the trip was Prosciutto e Melone. The pairing of sweet juicy cantaloupe with the smoky cured salty ham strikes the perfect balance. I also love the simplicity of this dish, it just goes to show quality ingredients don't need much dressing up. This is the inspiration for my watermelon salad. To add another depth of flavor and texture, I quick pickled the watermelon rind to add to the salad.
This gorgeous salad is the perfect starter for your next dinner party this summer. It's quick and easy to make and will impress all of your guests.
Recipe for 4 Servings
1/4 watermelon in chunks, seedless and rind removed (save for pickled rind)
8 slices parma ham
Leafy greens (optional)
Chervil Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of minced chervil
1 teaspoon of minced mint
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind (see next step)
First thing I made is the pickled watermelon rinds because it allows the rinds to absorb all the delicious flavors of the pickling juice while you're making the rest of the salad. The vinaigrette is super easy, whisk together the challenge ingredient along with everything else and let it sit room temperature.
To assemble the salad, place a hand full of leafy greens on the plate. Arrange the melon (I also added few pieces of Hami melon I had handy) on top of the greens. Layer on 2 slices of parma ham per serving and top it with some of the pickled watermelon rinds. Garnish with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and drizzle the chervil vinaigrette on top and serve.
The sweetness of the melon is the perfect compliment to the cured parma ham. The delicate chervil and mint dressing adds freshness and the pickled watermelon rind adds a bit of crunch and tanginess.
Hope you enjoy this recipe!
Step 1: Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind
Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind
1 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1/2 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn
1 tablespoon of peppercorn
1 cup of diced watermelon rind (skin removed)
To make the quick pickled watermelon rinds, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring it to a gentle boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add the diced watermelon rinds to a glass jar and pour the liquid mixture in the jar. Let it cool to room temperature and put them in the fridge to speed the process along.