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Melon and Cured Ham

Yield: 8 servings (appetizer)

  • 1 medium sized ripe melon, your choice of variety
  • 3 oz. shaved Serrano ham or Parma prosciutto
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, the best available, about 2 tablespoons
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 small handfuls of baby arugula, about 2 loosely filled cups
  • Fresh mint leaves to make about 8 teaspoons when finely slivered
  • Optional: a squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Cut the top and bottom rind from the melon, so you have two flat surfaces, then pare the rind from the sides, working from top to bottom. Trim any bits that you may have missed. Halve the peeled melon, scoop out the seeds, then cut into thin half-moon slices. Cut the ham slices into a few pieces so they're not overly large. Wash and dry the arugula, and spread it on salad plates, or a large platter for family style service. Arrange melon slices randomly on the arugula, then drape some ham pieces over the melon. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and grind a moderate amount of black pepper over the plate.

Pick the mint leaves from their stems, and roll a few together and using a sharp knife, sliver the rolls into a chiffonade.  Sprinkle over the salad. If you like, squeeze a small amount of lemon or lime over the top. Serve well chilled. May be made an hour in advance, but wait to dress and garnish until just before serving.