Friday, August 8, 2008

Wild Arugula, Cantaloupe, and Watermelon Salad with Prosciutto and Blue Cheese

wild arugula salad with melon and proscuitto

My mom has been pairing prosciutto with cantaloupe and melons from the time when cordless phones were first introduced (you had to pull out the long telescope antenna, and could hear yourself on your radio if you stood too close).

Lately, it seems everyone is touting melons and savory cured meats as the greatest thing since the iPhone 3G. But this combo is still old skool at our house. You really can't go wrong -- melon's inherent sweetness is always deliciously magnified by the salty, savory prosciutto, no matter how much technology has changed.

This simply chic salad is a send-up to my mom's appetizer: spicy wild arugula is paired with the season's juiciest cantaloupe and watermelon for a refreshingly tangy salad that pairs beautifully with grilled fish, meat, or pasta dishes. This salad isn't part of my Super Satisfying Salads Series though. Despite its alluring flavors, I could not classify prosciutto and blue cheese as health foods. But, boy, are they worth an extra 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Wild Arugula, Cantaloupe, and Watermelon Salad with Prosciutto and Blue Cheese
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh basil or parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 cups wild arugula**
1/2 cup watermelon balls
1/2 cup cantaloupe balls
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

To prepare the salad, place arugula, watermelon, and cantaloupe in a large bowl; coat with dressing and toss gently. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Top with prosciutto slices, crumbled blue cheese and toasted pine nuts. Garnish with additional basil or parsley, if desired.

**Wild arugula is a slightly darker shade of green than regular arugula, has delicate fluted leaves, and packs a more intense peppery flavor. Once only available at farmers' markets and specialty organic markets, it is now showing up at many supermarkets, including Trader Joe's. TJ's carries both organic and conventional wild arugula for just over $2.00 for a 7-ounce bag.

You might also like:

Watermelon and Green Olive Salad

Wild Rocket (Wild Arugula) Pasta

Looking for more savory watermelon recipes? Check out my latest piece, Watermelon Confidential, Dessert And So Much More, on NPR's Kitchen Window.

And check out Allen's week's worth of wonderful watermelon recipes over at Eating Out Loud.

On a separate but important note, most of you know that Sher of What Did You Eat? died unexpectedly of a heart attack recently. In her memory, Lia of Swirling Notions is hosting an online fundraiser in conjunction with WomenHeart, the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. To learn more, please see Lia's announcement.