Melon and prosciutto is such a refreshing summertime appetizer that I wondered if there was a way to make it entree-hearty without ruining its essential appeal. I did it by adding watermelon and feta cheese to the lineup. These two play together beautifully – the sweet watermelon and the salty feta hand in hand, so to speak. And the smoked paprika in the dressing pulls all the elements together. (If you don’t have time to track down the smoked paprika, you can substitute regular old sweet paprika from the supermarket.) This is a summertime dish, perfect for a picnic or for dinner at home, on those warm nights when you don’t want to turn on the stove.
Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: about 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 15 minutes
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, sweet or hot
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 medium watermelon (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into bite size cubes
1/2 medium cantaloupe, (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into bite size cubes
fresh mint leaves
6 ounces feta or aged goat cheese, thinly sliced
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
Whisk together the lime juice, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil.
Layer the melons, mint, feta cheese, and prosciutto decoratively in mason jars and drizzle each jar with some of the dressing.
How to pick a good watermelon:
1. Look the watermelon over.
You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
2.Lift it up.
The watermelon should be heavy for it’s size. Watermelon is 92% water, most of the weight is water.
3.Turn it over.
The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
- It is cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
- By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
- Early explorers used watermelons as canteens
Good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and potassium
New kind of feta:
If you want to try out a new kind of feta, one that has the same flavor and salty edge of regular feta but with a creamy texture, then you should check out this cheese, Ezra Feta cheese (and a new sponsor of my show). The lite version is every bit as creamy as the full fat. http://bunkerhillcheese.com/about-ezras.html
A few years ago American chefs and food writers started using smoked paprika in their recipes and you’ll be surprised how much flavor a little of this special seasoning can bring to a dish. Available in sweet, bittersweet, or hot, smoked paprika is made in Spain from peppers that are dried slowly over an oak-burning fire for several weeks. It can be used anywhere you would use regular paprika and in addition, can bring the flavor usually associated with smoked meats to vegetarian dishes. It is available in gourmet stores, some supermarkets, and by mail from LaTienda.com (888-472-1022) or The Spice House (847- 328-3711).