This combination of flavors is soooo delicious. It was probably a few years back that I was surfing the web for ideas on a new appetizer. It happen to be during the time that cantaloupe is in season, around January. I came across all kinds of recipes using cantaloupe in 100 different ways so I started trying out some combinations and when I got to this one, it blew my mind. I remember saying to myself, “What took you so long Jenn.” The saltiness of the prosciutto, with the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella, the sweetness of the cantaloupe and the tangy balsamic glaze…need I say more. Don’t wait until your next party to make these. Actually, if you can make them right now, “GO!” That’s how good these are and they’ll be ready in under 10 minutes. If you’re putting this together as one of your appetizers for a party, I recommend using a melon baller for a nice touch on presentation. If you don’t have one, cut the cantaloupe into small cubes trying to keep them equal in size . It’s still going to taste just as good.
Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham. It is a dry-cured meat typically served thinly sliced and so buttery-soft, it almost melts in your mouth. The curing process for this type of meat can range between 9 months and up to two years and requires a heavy amount of salt. The salt is then washed off but the meat will be left with a saltiness to it that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of cantaloupe for this recipe. The two most commonly known and best tasting types of prosciutto are the di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele (pictures below). Both of these are cities in Italy famously known for their cured meats. Most markets have one or both of these available at the deli counter to be freshly sliced. Many markets now a days, however, also carry the less expensive option which I like to call “imitation prosciutto.” I would stay away from these all together and especially for this recipe because the flavor and texture of each the four ingredients will make a big difference in the overall result. I know you’re likely to come across the imitation prosciutto at your market, so if your only option is the pre-sliced-packaged kind, I have to warn you some can be dry and chewy. There are several different brands at my local market of pre-sliced prosciutto, of which I have tried a couple, and they are not that bad. It will be a hit or miss. The best thing I could say is just make sure the prosciutto is pink in color and and sliced paper thin. Whether you purchase the freshly sliced or the pre-sliced packaged kind, for the best quality look to make sure it says “Imported from Italy”. This is the only way you will know if it’s the real deal.
If you’ve never tasted prosciutto, ask for a sample slice of each at the deli counter before you decide. For this particular recipe I like to use di Parma because it’s a little saltier while the San Daniele is on the sweeter side. Also, ask the person at the deli counter to slice it paper thin. I don’t understand why, but it’s so hard sometimes to get it how I like it, I find myself having to tell the person at the counter at least a couple times to be on the safe side. It happened to me once when I bought about $20 worth of prosciutto only to get home and not be able to use it because it was sliced too thick. I ended up having to bake it almost crunchy and served it with breakfast. Oh one more thing, there should be a piece of parchment paper (or plastic sheet depending on the market) between each slice. Otherwise you’ll get home to find a ball of prosciutto and good luck trying to separate that mess. You’ll know it’s perfect when you hold up a slice and you could almost see through it.
Having said all of that, I know sometimes I want to make a recipe and my local market doesn’t have one the ingredients I need…so frustrating. There are ingredients that can be substituted at times, but I always say, “there is never a substitute for good-quality ingredients if you want your food to taste amazing.” Now, prosciutto is a fatty cut of meat which gives it that buttery-soft texture so if you come across a slice that is tough or crispy around the edges, I would avoid it.
Cantaloupe is typically in season in January, but most markets have melon all year round. Definitely try this recipe again when it’s in season though. I used to make this appetizer by just cutting the melon into equal sized small cubes, but once I found out about the handy little tool called a “melon baller“, I’m obsessed. This tool has totally given this appetizer such a fancy look to it. If you’ve never used one before, it’s really easy. Once you’ve rinsed the cantaloupe until cool running water, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Sink the baller into the flesh of the cantaloupe and turn 180 degrees, until you see the perfect ball. The first one never comes out perfect for me but as you do a few, you’ll get the hang of it.
- 1 Cantaloupe
- 1 lb. Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine (if you can’t find these, you can use Bocconcini)
- 1/2 lb. thinly sliced Prosciutto
- Balsamic glaze
- Wash the cantaloupe under cool running water. Cut it in half crosswise and remove the seeds.
- Use a melon baller to scoop as many balls as the number of skewers you want to make.
- For each skewer, take a slice of prosciutto and fold it. Pierce through the skewer and push it toward the top.
- Take a mozzarella ball and pierce that through the skewer. Push it up to just below the prosciutto.
- Take a melon ball and pierce it through the skewer and push up so it’s just under the mozzarella.
- Arrange the skewers on a platter and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be prepared up to a day in advance, just don’t drizzle the glaze until you’re ready to serve.
Prosciutto Mozzarella and Melon Skewers
Prosciutto Mozzarella and Cantaloupe Skewer with a balsamic glaze drizzle
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 15 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 Cantaloupe
- 1 lb. Mozzarella Ciliegine
- 1/2 lb. Prosciutto (Thinly Sliced)
- Rinse the cantaloupe under cool running water.
- Cut the cantaloupe in half and remove the seeds.
- Use a melon baller to scoop out perfect balls of melon for the skewers. Place the balls in a bowl and set aside.
- Remove the mozzarella ciliegine from the container and give them a quick rinse under cool running water. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Take one slice of the prosciutto and gently fold it. If the prosciutto slice it too large, you can carefully cut it in half. Pierce it through the skewer and push toward the top end to allow space for the mozzarella and the melon to follow.
- Then take a mozzarella ball and pierce it through, pushing upward to just below the prosciutto. Do the same with a melon ball until it's just under the mozzarella.
- Place the prepared skewers directly on a serving platter. This can be prepared up to one day prior, covered and refrigerated. Once ready to serve, drizzle with balsamic glaze and enjoy.