This Summer Melon Caprese Salad is such a unique balance of sweet and savory – with the cantaloupe and Basil Port Wine Vinaigrette and the prosciutto, arugula and pine nuts . Be sure to find a nice ripe cantaloupe for this one, it makes a big difference! Serve it in a pretty bowl or plate individually.
Be sure to pick a ripe cantaloupe for this salad!
How to choose a cantaloupe
- My best advice is go to a farmer’s market stand and ask them to pick a good one for you. They usually know!
- If you have to choose one on your own, pick one that is heavy, has a fragrant smell when you smell the bottom and no dents or damage of any kind. There will be a slight indentation where the cantaloupe was on the ground – as seen in the picture above.
- It should be firm but not hard.
- Do not pick one with a green rind, find one that is tan and creamy.
- My best tip, after you find your perfect cantaloupe, leave it on the counter for at least a day and then cut it. Check out this post for more great tips on picking the perfect ripe cantaloupe.
Where did the name cantaloupe come from?
I recently saw a recipe for cantaloupe with port wine. The recipe stated that 18th century popes in Italy liked to sip port wine from a cantaloupe. This melon was grown in one of their domains in Cantalupo, where the papacy had a country estate. I found this very interesting and it made me want to do more research about where the name cantaloupe came from. It also gave me the idea of serving a port wine vinaigrette with this salad.
The story is that Cantaloupe gets its name from Cantalupo di Sabina, a town in Italy. The name Cantaloupe means, “howling wolves,” in Italian. Cantaloupes were said to have been first grown there for the popes. But apparently there are 7 cities in Italy and one in France with the same name so no one knows for sure. To read more about the etymology of the word, check out this article.
How to make Summer Melon Caprese Salad in pictures:
Cut the melon in half, then in quarters. Slice off the seeds, and then cut into bite sized pieces.
Cut the prosciutto into small strips. Don’t worry if they are tangled, they will still be pretty in the salad.
Arrange the greens in a bowl. Toast the pine nuts in the broiler for a few minutes, just until slightly brown. Watch them so they don’t burn.
Summer Melon Caprese Salad
- 2 oz. prosciutto sliced
- 1 ripe cantaloupe washed and cut into bite sized pieces
- 10 leaves of fresh basil
- 4 tablespoons of pine nuts
- 2 oz. mozzarella pearls - would also be great with burrata cheese
- 2 cups spring mix
- 2 cups arugula or other greens if you don't like arugula
- 1/4 cup red onion chopped
- Basil Port Wine Vinaigrette
- Cut the cantaloupe into bite sized pieces. You can also use a melon baller. It looks definitely prettier but I feel like it wastes a lot of the cantaloupe so I usually just cut it into pieces.
- Slice the prosciutto into small strips.
- Toast the pine nuts in the broiler for just a few minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
- Arrange the arugula, spring mix in a pretty bowl or individual plates/bowls.
- Arrange the cantaloupe on top of greens.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts, mozzarella pearls, basil and red onion.
- Drizzle with Port Wine Basil Vinaigrette.