The combination of cantaloupe and serrano is a popular one and with good reason.
I was about nine years old when I first tried this flavor combination. I was sitting in a fancy pants restaurant in Barcelona with my family and feeling incredibly stressed about all the courses I knew were about to come my way.
There was no kids menu available and the thought of eating for the next two hours (or more!) was enough to send me into a mild food panic. If I was dressed up before dinner, it meant that there was tons of eating involved and as much as I loved to eat it was so hard to keep up! I just wanted to get to the flan. It’s all my little nine year old heart ever wanted to eat. Could we all just get to the flan?
But then, this elegant little sliver of cantaloupe was placed before me. It was served wrapped with serrano ham. Fruit for dinner? Win!
I took a bite and remember being surprised that I actually loved the flavor combination. Such a simple and elegant dish. I felt like quite the sophisticated little senorita eating it. I still do. It remains to this day my favorite first course to serve whenever I’m entertaining on a hot summer day.
For today’s post, I wanted to try making it with honey dew melon, to see if the flavors would work – and they did!
I also wanted to make a special sauce for it. I’ve always enjoyed the balsamic reductions that I’ve been served with this dish in the past, so I reduced some Spanish sherry vinegar for the sauce. Although not necessary, it made for a perfectly tart, sweet and savory dish.
So easy to throw together and a perfect pairing.
This dish can be served as a tapa or first course and is a refreshing way to start any meal!
- Half of a honeydew melon (sliced)
- 8 to 10 thin slices of serrano ham
- 1/2 cup of sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Wash and cut melon in half
- Slice the melon into however many pieces you'd like to serve
- Wrap one or two slices of serrano around the melon
- For the Sauce:
- Pour 1/2 cup of sherry vinegar into a small sauce pan and place over moderate heat
- Stir in the honey and bring to a low boil
- Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and allow the vinegar to reduce slowly. Keep stirring to prevent burning and sticking to pot
- After a few minutes the vinegar will thicken and start to appear syrupy
- Remove from heat, let cool for a minute and then lightly drizzle over your melon slices.
- Serve immediately
If you can't find serrano ham or sherry vinegar, feel free to substitute with prosciutto ham and balsamic vinegar.
For a fancy tapa or appetizer, use a melon baller and make little bites of melon and wrap just a bit of serrano around each one. Pierce it with a toothpick and you're done!