Prosciutto e Melone


Image showing a berkel bacon slicer from the 1940's in bordeaux red with a piece of Tuscan Prosciutto ready for slicing

Melons are perfectly in season right now. We are seeing them in huge boxes in the supermarket tagged ‘special offer’ at Euro 0.99 per kilo. They’re at their absolute best. And how do we like them? with Prosciutto! For a super simple quick and easy lunch or a great starter that is a sublime marriage of flavours: ‘Prosciutto e Melone’..

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The sweetness of the melon and the saltiness of the (Tuscan) prosciutto is really something. You could use Parma Ham – which is less salty than the local stuff – but we think Tuscan is best for this particular dish. As an introduction to Italian cooking this portrays so well the deceptive simplicity of many classic Italian dishes. It’s only a few bits of Melon and a slice or two of ham? big deal! But it is a big deal – when it’s done right. The magic is all in the quality of the individual ingredients that are showcased within the dish. The Melon that was picked perfectly ripe, the Prosciutto made with pride, tradition and attention (and a relatively small profit margin compared to the industrial stuff) We’re explaining the ‘how to’ with pictures, it’s that easy. All of the art is in getting the right ingredients. Pay the highest prices for the best quality you can find. How do you know if your Melon is at it’s best? we always go by fragrance.  But it’s easy to buy a great Melon in Tuscany ! that’s not true all over the world, though. If you are buying supermarket / rifridgerated fruit Your Produce Guy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBr0p79SwyI recommends gently pressing the stalk end and looking for a slight yield to pressure. You are probably going to need to find a local green grocer to get melon this perfectly ripe – and a specialist Italian food supply to get perfectly made and matured Proscuitto, but it’s worth it.  Once you’ve done the shopping all you need is a knife and a board, and a few moments to build the dish.  You can do it in the time it takes your ice bucket to ‘frost’ ;-)

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It can’t sit around so you can’t make it ahead of time.  Just wait until everyone arrives and put it together with a glass of wine in hand, a little flair and a smile as you are finishing up the final preparations before sitting down to eat.  So stylish, so Italian.

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Siena House is a boutique Hotel, Olive Oil and Saffron Farm in Southern Tuscany.  Living in Italy for ten years has taught us so much about seasonal food, the importance of the finest ingredients and the joy of serving and eating small production great produce at it’s freshest and best.

 

 

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