As much as I love cooking and enjoy the process of putting a recipe together, sometimes it’s just too much damn effort. Especially if it’s pushing 100° F outside and any cooking involving heat sounds like actual torture. That’s when I need a recipe that’s minimal effort and zero heat while still being absolutely delicious. And thank god for summer because those kinds of recipes are pretty easy when you’re surrounded by an abundance of seasonal produce. Like a melon and prosciutto salad, for instance.
First let me be clear: this is not actually a “recipe”. This melon and prosciutto salad is more inspiration to use as a guideline. There are no set measurements or even exact ingredients needed to make this salad. But it is a good example of the importance of using the best seasonal produce available. When a recipe includes so few ingredients, each ingredient needs to be delicious all on its own.
The Melon: You can use just about any melon in this recipe, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, or Crenshaw. Just pick whatever you like best and what looks (and smells) particularly good.
The Prosciutto: Prosciutto is the most common charcuterie paired with melon but if you don’t have any (or just don’t like it) don’t let that stop you. You could sub in some high-quality thinly sliced ham or salami. Or you could crisp up some bacon or pancetta for a similar and no less delicious salad.
The Arugula: While I love the peppery bite arugula adds to this salad, you can easily use any tender leafy green you want. Spinach or a spring mix would both work perfectly.
The Vinaigrette: The balsamic vinaigrette complements the rest of the flavors here nicely without overpowering them but just about any vinaigrette will do. You could even opt for a creamier dressing like a poppyseed dressing if that’s your vibe.
The Mint: I’m obsessed with the subtle flavor mint adds to this salad but just about any soft herb will do, so feel free to get creative!
The Goat Cheese: Earthy, salty, creamy goat cheese is made for a salad like this. However, if you don’t like goat cheese, you could easily swap in mozzarella or feta instead. Or skip the cheese entirely if you’re avoiding dairy. It’ll still be totally delicious, trust me.
The Pistachios: I’m starting to sound like a broken record but, once again, any nut or seed will do nicely here. Pistachios do have a unique flavor to them that pairs nicely with the rest of the ingredients but whatever you have on hand is perfect.
Melon and Prosciutto Salad
- 1/2 medium melon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
- Several grinds pepper, to taste
- 3-4 handfuls (cups) arugula
- 2-4 ounces prosciutto
- Small handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Remove the seeds from the melon, cut into 4-6 wedges, and remove rind. Set aside.
- Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in a small jar. Secure lid tightly and shake vigorously until combined. Place a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Add arugula and toss to combine. Add more dressing as needed, being careful not to overdress the arugula.
- Place dressed arugula on a single large serving platter or evenly among individual plates. Arrange melon slices on top of the arugula. Roughly tear up the prosciutto and add to the salad. Sprinkle with mint and top with pistachios and goat cheese. Add extra dressing as desired and enjoy!
- Any leftover vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge for about a week.
- Once the salad is assembled, it’s best served immediately so don’t plan on leftovers. However, each individual component can be made in advance so you can easily whip up a salad when you’re ready.
Looking for more salad inspiration? Check out these recipes!