Melon and Jamón Soup
At around exactly this time last year, we travelled to Spain to celebrate the wedding of two friends. As with most Spanish weddings, we enjoyed an extravagent multi-course feast at the reception, with no fewer than 40 different canapes, seafood, fish, meat and dessert (plus snacks at 4am for the peckish)! However, for me, the culinary highlight of the night was a simple palate-cleansing soup, made from chilled melon and topped with salty jamón.
Back in England, I was desperate to recreate the soup and the memory of the night spent dining under the stars, so when I saw galia melons on offer at the market, I knew it was meant to be. We used galia melons, but you could easily make this with honeydew or piel de sapo.
We love to serve this soup in shot glasses or tiny bowls as a starter or palate cleanser between courses. For those who are uneasy about the sweet/salty combination, just think of it as a variation of the famous tapa – melón con jamón!
Ingredients (serves 4)
1.2kg melon (roughly 1 large melon/2 small melons)
2 tbsp single cream or creme fraiche
salt and pepper
4 slices jamón serrano
extra virgin olive oil (the best you can afford)
fresh mint (optional)
Instructions (serves 4)
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Remove the seeds and skin from the melon. Cut into large chunks and blend with a handheld blender.
- Add the cream or creme fraiche to the blended melon and stir until totally incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. (Optional – for a velvety smooth soup, pass through a clean muslin to remove any small lumps.) Place in the fridge and chill for several hours.
- Place the slices of jamón on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cook for five minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Remove and leave to cool.
- Serve the chilled melon soup with a light drizzle of olive oil and a crumbled slice of the crunchy jamón. For a twist, add finely chopped fresh mint.