Prosciutto, honeydew and roasted pepper salad
Confession: I’ve never really been a fan of salads.
That’s bad for a nutritionist isn’t it? But I’ve always preferred hot food. There was just something about a bowl of leaves that seemed unsatisfying…. until I figured out I had my approach all wrong.
I rarely get excited about greens only – although these days, a bowl of peppery arugula with some maple, lime and olive oil dressing would make me pretty happy. However, it helps to see leaves as a healthy vehicle for other delicious things. When you load a salad with delicious things, the whole game changes!
Last week, a friend of mine lent me her Leon Happy Salads cookbook. It’s amazing and I highly recommend it for salad inspiration. I happened to open it on a page with a prosciutto and honeydew recipe, which hooked me in.
One summer when I was a teen, I went on holiday to rural Spain with my parents. It was memorable for many reasons: 1) there were kittens at the villa we rented … kittens! So sweet. 2) I was terrorised by enormous spiders in my bedroom. 3) I stayed awake on spider watch all night by reading a racy Jilly Cooper novel I found under the bed (I think that was my sex education, right there). And lastly, 4) all I ate for two weeks was prosciutto and melon. The combination of sweet and salty was so fantastic. And despite the spiders, I loved that holiday and that dish takes me back every time.
Of course, I’m incapable of following a recipe to the letter so I immediately added some roasted peppers. I also served some roasted baby potatoes on the side for my carb-loving Irishman. But if you’re watching your carbs note that melon is a carb too, so you could just leave it there.
Extra thoughts: I also think this would be amazing with some avocado or Tucker’s Farm goat’s cheese on top. If you are avoiding red meat, then switch the prosciutto for some leftover roast chicken and that would be just as delicious. Vegans could ditch the animal protein completely and just have avocado – the melon/avocado combo is always a winner in my eyes. Whichever way you do this – ENJOY!
Prosciutto, Honeydew & Roasted Pepper Salad (main dish)
Ingredients: (per person)
1 large handful arugula, spinach or local leaves (e.g. the amazing Miles to Grow)
½ – 1 red/yellow/orange pepper (more vitamin C than green!)
2 slices lean prosciutto (fat removed)
1 slice honeydew melon
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425F
2. Cut the sides and bottom off the pepper so that you have large wedges; remove the seeds.
3. Brush a baking sheet with light olive oil (or other high heat oil) – arrange the peppers and roast for 15 minutes, turn, and then roast for another 15 minutes – or until the natural sweetness is released and they are soft. Set the peppers to one side and then slice bite-sized when cool.
4. In a bowl, whisk up to ½ tbsp olive oil with a big squeeze of lemon and salt pepper. Toss your leaves in it.
5. Tear the prosciutto into lean strips and add to the leaves.
6. Cut a slim wedge of honeydew (so that it’s like a boat). Use a vegetable peeler (or even better, a soft fruit peeler if you have one) and shave ribbons of melon off the slice. Add these to the bowl.
7. Add the peppers to the bowl too and toss gently with your hands. Test the seasoning and adjust. The melon is sweet, the prosciutto is salty …. You really won’t need much else!
Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram