Summer is a beautiful time here in Ontario. We are blessed with some amazing produce from all around the area. In Prince Edward County there are people like Vicki’s Veggies growing great vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. Just a quick trip down the QEW leads to beautiful peaches and cherries in the amazing Niagara region.
Here at Enoteca we are excited about this time of year because we get to serve one of the quintessential Italian pairings: prosciutto and melon. When the season is just right we will pair Perth Pork Products Prosciutto (say that 5 times fast!) with some beautiful Ontario-grown cantaloupe. This dish always appeals to the eye on the plate with the beautiful orange of the cantaloupe and the pop of pink from the Prosciutto. It is visually stunning and the combination of the flavours on the taste buds is even more exciting, sweet and salty.
In Italy, eating melon without prosciutto is frowned upon. According to the Italian urban legend, when eating a “cold” food like melon it must be accompanied by a “hot” food like salty meat or chili peppers. Failure to do so will lead to the body being “chilled”, causing terrible indigestion and even death. There is some anecdotal historical evidence supporting this theory. Apparently in July 1471, Pope Paul II died after a dinner of three cantaloupes. The melons were blamed for his death. In 1602, Giacomo della Porta, the architect for another Pope, also apparently died after eating too much cantaloupe, causing fatal indigestion when his organs became chilled.
We aren’t going to mess with the rules so we will simply slice the prosciutto paper-thin and drape it over wedges of cantaloupe that have been lightly tossed in lime juice to accentuate the melons natural sweetness. It’s delicious.