1) Choose a honeydew with a dull looking appearance. A shiny exterior indicates an underripe melon. Also, honeydews should be pale yellow to light lemon in color, not overly green.
2) For cantaloupes, the rind underneath the net-like texture should be golden or orange in color. Once again, an underlying green (or white) color means it is not quite ripe.
3) Pick up a few melons and see how they feel. Choose the melon that feels heavy for its size.
4) Push your fingers on the round section where the vine was attached. It should be slightly soft. Finally, take a sniff; the melon should be aromatic, smelling sweetly fragrant.
Once you have your ripe and ready to devour melons, the Melon and Prosciutto Salad is a simple melon salad that melds three flavors together for a great appetizer or accompaniment to grilled chicken, fried chicken or other simple summer chicken dish. The melons are sweet, the prosciutto adds a hint of saltiness, and the mint and citrus add a splash of bright, crisp, and fresh notes to the palate. This recipe halves easily if feeding a family of 4 versus a dinner party.
Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves: 6 (1 cup servings)
3 cups honeydew melon balls (about 1/2 medium melon)
3 cups cantaloupe balls (about 1/2 medium melon)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Cracked black pepper
Combine first 5 ingredients, tossing gently. Arrange melon mixture on a serving platter. Arrange prosciutto evenly over melon mixture and evenly disperse Parmigiano-Reggiano. Garnish with cracked black pepper.
*A melon baller will give a nice uniform melon for appearance, but a simple 1/2 inch cube works as well.
*Can be made ahead, just wait until serving to add the prosciutto and cheese.
Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano (printable link)