Melon with Iberian Ham and Fresh Herbs
A classic combination of cured ham and melon is taken to the next-level in this voluptuous dish, pairing nutty, melt-in-your-mouth Jamón Ibérico with ripe cantaloupe and a fresh lemon herb salad. The combination brings out new flavors in each of its components for a palate-pleasing summer masterpiece that gets guests talking.
On the night we premiered this dish at our tapas bar in SoHo it caught one regular guest’s attention, and he ordered it. Before he was through, he ordered another. The very next night he was back on his stool at the counter. He had been thinking about the dish all day and had to return for more! We hope you and your guests will feel the same way.
From the Boqueria Cookbook
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
1 ripe cantaloupe (about 14 ounces) cut in 8 wedges and seeded
2 ounces very thinly sliced Jamón Ibérico
1 cup packed torn frisée
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, torn
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn
extra-virgin olive oil: a generous drizzle
fleur de sel
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel the rind off the melon wedges, then slice each wedge lengthwise in half. Arrange 4 slices on each of the serving plates and drape the jamón all over the melon.
Remove the zest from the half lemon and reserve it, then squeeze out the juice. Toss the frisée, mint, and basil with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mound this on top of the jamón and melon. Drizzle with plenty of oil, grind lots of pepper on top, and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Sprinkle the reserved lemon zest on top. Serve immediately.
Chef’s tip: Never put a melon in the fridge. Its sweetness and complexity diminish in the cold. If you bought it ripe, use it right away. Otherwise, let it sit at room temperature until you can smell its honeyed scent.