So as anyone who might have stumbled upon this website probably knows, our little fruit bat loves fruit and loves to insert fruit in all her recipes! So in a failed attempt to be original, I tried to invent a salad based on the melon and parma ham appetizer. Needless to say, a google search showed me there are plenty of versions out there already that even involve cherry tomatoes and cucumber!! Well, I can see how a cucumber would fit in but a tomato and a melon?! Really?! Well, I did the salad before the google search so maybe it is actually good, who am I to judge?
Before we jump into our sea of leaves, let’s take a look at our star ingredient, the melon! Melons (honeydew or cantaloupe) provide a healthy dose of potassium, some added fiber to our diets, and a good amount of Vitamin C. (Cantaloupe seems to have a little more Vitamin C and some Vitamin A too). They also sprinkle in some Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Iron! Considering how sweet they taste they aren’t so high in sugars (still have a little but not too much) and are low on calories too!
Parma ham or prosciutto crudo (raw ham), is also a healthy source of protein. It is less processed than most of the other types of cold cuts, plus the process actually dries off some of the fats so it’s a leaner pork. Most of the fat is also very visible and easy to eliminate! (It doesn’t mean it has no fats, it just means it has fewer fats). It’s a good source of protein, of course, but also brings a good amount of vitamin B6, some Vitamin D, and Cobalamin. It is also a great source of Sodium (salt) which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
We sprinkled in some pistachios and boosted up our Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Iron. They, of course, built up on the proteins but also on the fats and calories so keep that in mind when deciding how much pistachios you’re adding in. So let’s see how I turned this fruit into a savory dish!
- Honeydew Melon/Cantaloupe
- Parma Ham
- Peeled Pistachio
- Cranberries (optional)
- Classic Salad Mix
- Balsamic Glaze (or Balsamic Vinegar)
- Cracked Pepper and Salt to taste
Now as with all salads, this doesn’t need much explanation. I actually bought a ready-washed classic salad mix to make my life even easier, however, it is not that hard to mix yourself. Get your favorite selection of leaves like lettuce, baby spinach, roquette, and some purple lettuce for some color, and shred some carrots. Chop the bigger leaves and wash everything up.
While you let your leaves to drip and dry off the excess water, cut your favorite melon into bite-size cubes (or little balls if you have a tiny scooper and enough patience for that). Roll the parma ham into little flowers (this is easy enough to do, just roll it up at an angle so that the bottom part is very tight and the upper area is nice and loose) and we are ready to assemble the salad.
Place some of the melon bites at the base of your plate, built up your salad with your mix of leaves and carrots, and then top up with the rest of your melon. Spread the balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar (glaze is sweeter but it adds more sugars and calories to your plate than vinegar). Place your parma ham, pistachios, and cranberries and sprinkle with mint, some basil, fresh pepper, and a touch of salt (keep in mind how salty your ham and pistachios are before you add more salt). Maybe add a leaf of fresh mint on top for some extra presentation and your salad is ready to be enjoyed!!
You can add some zest to this salad by adding some orange or lemon peel, or even a touch of orange juice. A hint of ginger can also give some extra kick here! Cider vinegar might be a great replacement for the balsamic glaze, especially if you are trying to burn fat!! I tried this salad without cranberries, it works too (and I think it is more popular without them) but they give a nice, extra festive look. Some pomegranate seeds can also give a pop of color, add some crunch, and interesting taste. I’ve seen strawberries added to salads, if you’re a fan, they would probably fit well with this salad too.
Apparently, this salad is also popular with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes but I would keep my cherry tomatoes whole, I do not trust their juice with the melon! The cucumbers, I would actually love to give them a try next time. What do you think about this salad? Will you give it a go? And what do you think about tomatoes here, yay or nay?!