PROSCIUTTO and melon WITH KALE AND CAPER BERRIES
This summer, we traveled to Italy on a dime (ie. cheap seats)—then ate our way through markets, grazed on thin, crackly-crusted Roman pies and piles of peaches and plums. It was bliss. Almost every meal was exceptional—-well-researched and worth the long treks across town for all the most renowned pastas, pizzas and gelatos (I promise to share my must-do-in-Rome list, soon). But one day, when we’d walked all the way from our charming Air-b-n-b, Monte di Pietà to the Colosseum, carrying my four-year-old son on our backs, passing his limp, jet-lagged body back and forth from parent to parent, we found our way to the restaurant we’d most been wanting to try, a recommendation from my instagram friend, Elvira Zilli, who calls Rome home.
She may have mentioned something about making sure to call first to make sure they were open—it was August in Italy, afterall; many smaller mom-and-pop places close for summer holidays. But I had forgotten that little detail. So I did what any respectable, exhausted mother in Rome would do when she has only five days to conquer all the delicious things —I called a Uber (don’t do it, cabs are much cheaper than Ubers in Rome!) and climbed into the plush leather seats, AC and all. We’d walked for four solid days and it only felt fair, to all of us. I instructed the driver to take us to yet another far-flung corner of the city, crossing my fingers we’d find another gem, when my husband asked, but, where do you eat lunch? He started listing places, as I hurriedly pulled each one up on Google, cross-referencing penciled lists from bloggers and friends who live or lived in Rome, stuffed into my purse. Finally, he mentioned Pizzeria Emma, where he said he had eaten lunch that very day. It didn’t ring a bell, but something in me said to take him up on his offer to drive us straight there.
There were no spots in the sidewalk cafe, but he talked them into giving us a table inside, where we found none of the charm of Sora Margherita, nor the raucous laughter at Da Buffetto (an absolute Rome, must!), nor the date-night glam of Roscioli. It was a little too shiny, too much AC, and our son was definately the youngest diner there. Yet—-yet! The arancini were perfection, the pizza crisp and fast with a red sauce so spot-on I could drink it. It all seemed a bit expensive, four days deep into our trip, so I ordered cautiously, less than I really wanted. And between courses, I watched vested servers carving from the handsome Prosciutto di Parma that stood on the bar. Time after time our waiter would waltz over to the bar and take a plate of melon heaped with ribbons of ham to a table nearby. For the last half of our meal, I could think of nothing else.
I decided if we’re going to try to indulge on Prosciutto anytime, this as the place. We ordered it, for dessert, we reasoned—Greta and I. It arrived, four thin half-moons of ripe, apricot-colored melons, dripping with juice, piled with curls of the most buttery, paper-thin Prosciutto that have ever passed my lips (and, I’ve been to Parma!). I am still thinking about it, three weeks later.
In exactly eight days, summer will fade into fall. But with what is left, there will be melons, and there will be ham, in our house at least. And it will be wonderful and perfect and the greatest surprise of the day. Serve it all separate, for one (see above) any time you can steal for yourself in the next tender days. Or for all your favorite crowd, add greens and capers (salted—not rinsed) and caper berries, drizzle with oil and parmesan and your very best salt and make it a meal to finish summer with. You won’t regret it.
PROSCIUTTO AND MELON SALAD WITH KALE AND CAPER BERRIES
1/2 head kale, MIZZuna, Red-veined sorrel, RADICCHIO or a blend, torn or chopped
1 SUPER RIPE MELON (CANTALOUPE or honeydew), SEEDED AND CUT IN WEDGES
4 to 6 oz PROSCIUTTO
1 LEMON, JUICED
¼ CUP EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, PLUS FOR TOASTING NUTS
1/4 cup salted capers
1/4 cup caper berries
1/3 CUP TORN MIXED HERBS, SUCH AS sage, mint, thyme or a blend
FLAKY SEA SALT, SUCH AS MALDON
FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
2 tablespoons FRESHly grated parmesan cheese
DRIZZLE ABOUT HALF OF THE MEASURED OLIVE OIL IN A LARGE METAL BOWL, AND ADD THE greens. SPRINKLE THE FINE SEA SALT OVER THE TOP AND, WITH CLEAN HANDS, MASSAGE THE KALE WITH THE oil and SALT UNTIL IT IS COATED AND BEGINS TO SOFTEN SLIGHTLY.
Layer on a plate with the melon, PROSCIUTTO,Capers, caper berries, remaining oil and lemon juice and herbs. JUST BEFORE SERVING, SPRINKLE the salad GENEROUSLY WITH HERBS, MALDON SEA SALT AND GROUND PEPPER TO TASTE (THE HERBS WILL WILT IF THEY SIT TOO LONG IN THE LEMON AND OIL). Finish with grated parmesan. SERVE CRISP AND FRESH.
TIME: 15 MINUTES
I have a lot more delicious recipes for you—here, and in my books. I’ve included a link to buy my latest book, EVERY DAY IS SATURDAY, below, to fill your plate with more life-giving foods like this.
**This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.** images belong to Sarah Copeland, and should not be pinned or posted without attribution. **
Photo // NICO SHINCO
Food + Prop Styling // SARAH COPELAND