Prosciutto e Melone (Italian Ham and Melon Recipe)

I love to throw parties during the summer months, and always enjoy serving different appetizers and small bites. This Prosciutto e Melone (Italian Ham and Melon Recipe) is a classic Italian appetizer with prosciutto di parma and sweet melon. I like to dress up this melon appetizer with some fresh basil leaves, drizzle of olive oil, and a bit of black pepper. The saltiness from the prosciutto pairs perfectly with the ripe cantaloupe. For a luxurious twist, add some aged balsamic vinegar from Modena – yum!  

Overhead shot of sliced cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto (prosciutto e melone) on a serving platter with basil.

This popular appetizer is surprisingly simple. All you need is a slice of melon and some prosciutto. It’s a great dish to make when entertaining, as you can prep it ahead easily. My prosciutto e melone recipe is versatile and can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even an appetizer for dinner. It’s an Italian classic that’s perfect for the hot days of summer. I love to serve it on a large platter with fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic glaze, and of course, paired with an aperol spritz. If you’re serving this for a party, make sure to prepare my Aperol Spritz Pitcher for a crowd. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • The perfect salty-sweet combo – The sweetness of the melon and the saltiness of the prosciutto is actual perfection. The balance between fresh fruit and cured meats (the prosciutto slices) provides a really nice bite.
  • Fancy, but not fussy – This dish is impressive and fun! It’s an upscale finger food – and who doesn’t love that?
  • It will transport you to Italy – Italians really know what they’re doing when it comes to food! Add some other classic Italian antipasto like mozzarella balls along with this prosciutto e melone, and you’ll taste the riviera from your backyard!

Ingredients

Ingredients for prosciutto e melone.

  • Cantaloupe – In this recipe, ripe cantaloupe provides a juicy and sweet base, perfectly complementing the savory prosciutto. For optimal ripeness and flavor, choose a cantaloupe that feels heavy for its size, has a sweet aroma, and yields slightly when pressed at the stem end.
  • Prosciutto (Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di San Daniele)- Thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di San Daniele wraps around the melon, adding a delicate saltiness that balances the sweetness of the fruit. When selecting prosciutto, look for slices that are thinly sliced and have a slightly translucent appearance. Ask your deli counter to slice it paper-thin for the best texture.
  • Extra virgin olive oil –  A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil adds a touch of richness and depth to the dish. Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. Look for cold-pressed oils labeled as “extra virgin” to ensure optimal taste and quality.
  • Black pepper –  A sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle hint of warmth and spice, elevating the flavors of the cantaloupe and prosciutto. Grind the black pepper just before serving for the freshest and most intense flavor. Adjust the amount to your taste preference, starting with a light sprinkle and adding more if desired.

Substitutions

  • Honeydew Melon – Instead of cantaloupe, you can use fresh honeydew melon for this dish. 
  • Prepare Skewers – Use a melon baller to turn the ripe melon into melon balls. Add them to skewers with fresh basil, prosciutto, and mozzarella balls for an on-the-go snack! 
  • Mint – Use fresh mint instead of basil for a refreshing twist.

Ham vs Prosciutto

While both ham and prosciutto originate from pork, they differ significantly in terms of flavor, texture, and production process. Ham is typically cooked and can come from various parts of the pig, offering a savory and often smoky taste, while prosciutto is dry-cured and thinly sliced, boasting a delicate, sweet flavor with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Additionally, while ham is commonly enjoyed cooked in various dishes, prosciutto is typically served raw or thinly sliced as a charcuterie or antipasto.

How to Make Prosciutto e Melone

Sliced cantaloupe on a white plate.

Step 1: Select a ripe cantaloupe and slice it into wedges. To make it easier to remove the skin, you can first cut the cantaloupe into slices, and then cut the skin off each slice. Arrange the cantaloupe pieces on a serving platter.

Sliced cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto (prosciutto e melone) on a white plate.

Step 2: Cut each slice of prosciutto in half length-wise, so that you have 12 strips. Take a slice of Prosciutto di Parma and wrap it around each piece of cantaloupe. Ensure the prosciutto is securely Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over the Prosciutto e Melone for added richness.

Drizzle a small amount of high-quality extra virgin olive oil over the prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe.

Sliced cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto (prosciutto e melone) on a white plate with some fresh cracked black pepper.

Step 3: Grind fresh black pepper over the Prosciutto e Melone to add a subtle hint of warmth and spice. Adjust the amount of black pepper to your taste preferen

Overhead shot of sliced cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto (prosciutto e melone) on a serving platter with basil.

Step 4: Tear or chiffonade fresh basil leaves and sprinkle them over the Prosciutto e Melone as a garnish.

Arrange the Prosciutto e Melone on a platter and serve immediately. 

Ssliced cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto (prosciutto e melone) on a serving platter with basil and olive oil drizzle.

Tips and Notes

  • Selecting cantaloupe – Choose a ripe cantaloupe with a sweet aroma and slightly soft texture at the stem end. A ripe cantaloupe should feel heavy for its size and have a golden-yellow hue under the netting on its skin.
  • Cutting and slicing cantaloupe – To make it easier to remove the skin, cut the cantaloupe into slices first. Lay each slice flat on a cutting board and use a knife to carefully cut away the skin, ensuring to remove any green or white parts, leaving only the sweet, orange flesh.
  • Quality prosciutto – Use thinly sliced, high-quality Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di San Daniele for the best flavor and texture. Look for slices that are paper-thin with a slightly translucent appearance for optimal tenderness and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Serve chilled – For maximum refreshment, chill the Prosciutto e Melone in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. The cool temperature enhances the crispness of the cantaloupe and ensures a refreshing experience, especially on warm summer days.

Serving Suggestions

  • Wine Pairing – Opt for a light and crisp wine like Pinot Grigio or a dry Rosé. Pinot Grigio’s refreshing acidity and citrus notes complement the sweetness of the melon and the saltiness of the prosciutto, while a dry Rosé offers a perfect balance between fruitiness and crispness, enhancing the flavors of this delightful combination.
  • Antipasto platter – Arrange the Prosciutto e Melone on a large platter alongside other Italian antipasti such as olives, marinated vegetables, cheeses, and crusty bread. It makes for a stunning centerpiece and offers a variety of flavors and textures for guests to enjoy. I suggest serving my Pesto Bruschetta, Burrata Bruschetta, and Sausage Crostini with this for the perfect summer meal or party! And don’t forget the Crab Arancini!
  • Brunch spread – Serve the Prosciutto e Melone as part of a brunch spread alongside quiches, frittatas, and fresh salads. It adds an elegant touch to the table and pairs beautifully with mimosas or Bellinis.
  • Cocktail hour – Serve the Prosciutto e Melone as a stylish hors d’oeuvre at cocktail parties or evening gatherings. It pairs beautifully with sparkling wine, Aperol spritzes, or classic Italian cocktails like Negronis or Campari sodas. Or, try my Aperol Margarita and John Daly Drink!

Storage and Reheating Instructions

  • Refrigeration – Store leftovers or prepared Prosciutto e Melone in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day to maintain freshness.
  • Separation – Store prosciutto and cantaloupe separately to prevent sogginess. Assemble just before serving for optimal freshness.
  • Serve Chilled –  Keep Prosciutto e Melone refrigerated until ready to serve. Transport in a cooler with ice packs for outdoor events.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it! Tag @seasonedandsalted on Instagram and leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review below!

Four slices of cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto (prosciutto e melone) on a serving platter with basil.

Prosciutto e Melone (Italian Ham and Melon Recipe)

Allie Hagerty
Impress your guests with this simple yet elegant appetizer: Prosciutto e Melone. The melon pairs beautifully with the saltiness of the prosciutto!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 53 kcal

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • Knife
  • Serving platter

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • 6 slices of Prosciutto di Parma
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • Cut the ripe cantaloupe into wedges or slices. Optionally, remove the skin from each slice for easier eating.
  • Cut each slice of prosciutto in half length-wise, so that you have 12 strips. Take a slice of Prosciutto di Parma and wrap it around each piece of cantaloupe. Ensure the prosciutto is securely Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over the Prosciutto e Melone for added richness.
  • Grind freshly ground black pepper over the dish to add a touch of spice and enhance the flavors.
  • Garnish the Prosciutto e Melone with fresh basil leaves for an extra burst of flavor and visual appeal.
  • Arrange the Prosciutto e Melone on a serving platter and serve immediately. Enjoy the delightful combination of sweet cantaloupe and savory prosciutto!

Notes

Cutting and slicing cantaloupe – To make it easier to remove the skin, cut the cantaloupe into slices first. Lay each slice flat on a cutting board and use a knife to carefully cut away the skin, ensuring to remove any green or white parts, leaving only the sweet, orange flesh.
Quality prosciutto – Use thinly sliced, high-quality Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di San Daniele for the best flavor and texture. Look for slices that are paper-thin with a slightly translucent appearance for optimal tenderness and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Serve chilled – For maximum refreshment, chill the Prosciutto e Melone in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. The cool temperature enhances the crispness of the cantaloupe and ensures a refreshing experience, especially on warm summer days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 53kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 40mgPotassium: 80mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1557IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 0.2mg
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