Sweet balls of cantaloupe sub for tomatoes and pair nicely with salty shaved prosciutto in this simple twist on the classic caprese salad.
With my garden tomatoes still clawing their way toward sweet fruit-ition, I’m patiently awaiting to harvest my ‘mates to make my favorite caprese salad with my very own, homegrown tomatoes. Okay, who am I kidding. I’m not patient at all.
That’s why I’m jumping the line and moving forward anyway by subbing tomatoes with local, sweet cantaloupe. Don’t worry tomatoes, I’ll be back. But until then, this salad is totally turning my head and making me stare with each and every bite.
I am a huge fan of cantaloupe, especially when I eat it with cottage cheese, but I really like it best with a generous sprinkling of salt. Kosher salt. Salt brings out the sweetness of the fruit, similar to how it does with chocolate. This recipe calls for seasoning the dressing with salt and freshly ground black pepper, but odds are, if you’re like me, you’ll be wanting another sprinkle or two, too.
There are several varieties of fresh mozzarella balls you can readily find at your local grocery store’s finer cheese section. I prefer Wisconsin’s Bel Gioioso mozzarella balls. For this recipe I chose their pearl size to add variety in size and contrast to my melon balls. You could use the more available ciliegine, but I would suggest you halve the balls first to make them go farther in the salad.
Prosciutto is a style of dry-cured Italian ham, very thinly sliced and quite delicate. I get my favorite brand at Costco (surprise! Costco wins again!) because I can get two packages for the price of one from the grocery store. It comes with paper dividing each supple slice as they have a tendency to melt together. Salty prosciutto is easy to tear and add to the salad, adding a subtle smokiness that perfectly compliments the sweetness of the cantaloupe and the honey-laced dressing.
Cantaloupe and Mozzarella Caprese Salad
- 1 cantaloupe , halved and seeded
- 1 8- ounce container mozzarella balls , (I used pearl size balls)
- 8-10 slices prosciutto , shredded into large pieces
- 1/4 cup basil leaves , thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup mint leaves , thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Use a melon baller to scoop balls from the cantaloupe halves and add to a large bowl. Add the mozzarella balls and the torn prosciutto. Sprinkle with the basil and mint leaves.
- In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, honey and white balsamic vinegar together and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over the cantaloupe and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper and additional herbs to taste.
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