This time of year in Italy can be hot and I mean really hot. In Venice, temperatures and humidity soar making you want to leave the city and run away to the countryside. From a food point of view your body demands fresh, lean flavours to cool it to the core. Luckily, nature comes to the rescue by providing us with a large variety of summer fruit and vegetables of which a personal favourite is melon. At this time of year, Venetian shops are piled high with melons in all varieties and colours and this recipe works equally well with any of them.
Like gazpacho and other summer soups, this is best served well chilled. The slightly sweet flavour of the melon, contrasts with the salty prosciutto in a classic Italian flavour combination. The greek-style yoghurt and cayenne pepper give it a kick and are reminiscent of Venice’s historical links with Greece and the spice trade. I use prosciutto San Daniele which is made in the region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, not far from Venice, but any prosciutto crudo such as prosciutto di Parma will do.
Zuppa fredda di melone
Preparation time: 5 mins
Chilling time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
1 melon of any variety
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons greek-style yoghurt
4 slices of prosciutto San Daniele or prosciutto di Parma
a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Wash and cut the melon in two. With a spoon remove the seeds in the centre and thrown them away.
- Using a melon baller make six melon balls and put them to one side.
- Cut the melon into slices and then cut away the outer skin with a sharp knife.
- Cut the melon flesh into chunks.
- Put the melon chunks and two tablespoons of yoghurt into a liquidiser and blitz until smooth.
- Put the liquid in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill well.
- Transfer the chilled soup into serving bowls and place a teaspoon of greek-style yoghurt in the centre of each.
- Place three melon balls on top of each bowl.
- Tear the prosciutto into strips and arrange them on the top of each bowl of soup.
- Sprinkle the surface with a little cayenne pepper and serve.