Monday, August 8, 2011

Perfect Couple

Pie and ice cream, a grilled cheese and tomato soup, steamed crabs and beer, ice cold milk and an Oreo cookie, some things were meant to be and their marriage truly endures the test of time. Maybe we forget to celebrate the simplicity? Which brings me to this question? When was the last time you had prosciutto and melon? Been awhile? It’s a perfect combination. It is silly to print a recipe for such a thing, it’s ham and cantaloupe. But if you must know, I usually cut ours away from the rind, sprinkle it with a tiny bit of sea salt, drape it with two pieces of prosciutto and then I drizzle it with about a half a teaspoon of the very Italian agave nectar and half a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.

I remember my first prosciutto e melone. When I was 8 my Dad was involved with an Italian woman with the mutually exclusive large Italian family. She always hosted the family Christmas Eve dinner and the menu was always the same. We had antipasto, prosciutto and melon prosciutto and melon, French onion soup in copper pots topped with muenster cheese, ravioli, some sort of meat that obviously I was not interested in, a salad, dessert with coffee and anisette and After Eight mints. She was perennially teased about the salad, due to the number of guests she would run the lettuce through the rinse and spin cycles of the washing machine. Maybe the ham and melon seemed exotic, but mainly the appeal is that it is salty AND sweet, no different than the deliciousness that is a chocolate covered pretzel.

In all seriousness, I’m not just going to give you a recipe for prosciutto and melon, I’ve added a couple more items. This salad came from one of those stone soup moments that really many awesome dishes arise from. We had a delicious cantaloupe, the kind that you consume over the sink because you can’t wait to get it on a plate and it just tastes better when the juice runs down your chin. Also, we didn’t have enough ham for full blown prosciutto and melon and we had a heart of romaine that needed to be consumed and some goat cheese floating around in the meat drawer. I’ll admit goat cheese is cheating. Much like bacon or truffle oil, you could put any of them on a cardboard square and have a tasty, eco-friendly canape. But that’s what we had and mid-bite Jim said ‘Ummm, write this down on the list of things I like.’ So I did before I forgot what went in, which is what usually happens.

Prosciutto and Melon Salad with Goat Cheese and Agave Nectar - Serves 2

1 heart of romaine chopped thinly equal to about 2 cups

1 oz. prosciutto - chopped

1.5 oz. goat cheese - crumbled

1/2 cup chopped cantaloupe

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Chop the lettuce and dress with oil, vinegar and agave nectar, toss with remaining ingredients.

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