“It is not worth paying a fortune for an out-of-season melon—it will have no flavour anyway.”Katharine Whitehorn, Cooking In A Bedsitter
This starter is a sort of creative take on the classic sweet and salty melon and prosciutto combo. In this version the saltiness comes from the prawns and the bacon. I’ve used thick, black pumpkin oil in the dressing because pumpkins (squashes) come from the same botanical family as melons – Cucurbitaceae and I think this brings out the drippingly, droolingly gorgeous taste of a nice ripe orange cantaloupe.
Katharine Whitehorn is right – cantaloupes are best eaten in season – from June to August in the northern hemisphere.
Recipe for melon, bacon and prawn starter
Serves 8 – 10
- 2 x small cantaloupe melons – deseeded and cut into slices
- 250g/8 oz frozen peeled prawns – thoroughly defrosted (either overnight in the fridge – or put them in a colander and wash them through with cold water – then leave for half an hour or so)
- 25g/1 oz chives
- 250g/8 oz streaky, smoked bacon, cut into small strips
- 100g/3 oz pecan halves
- 8 tbsp pumpkin oil (or a good olive oil with do)
- 8 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 fat cloves of garlic crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
- Freshly ground Indonesian long pepper
- Mix of butter and olive oil for frying
- Dry fry the pecan halves for a couple of minutes – remove and keep warm.
- In a mix of a little butter and olive oil, using the same pan, fry the bacon bits.
- When these are on the way to crisping up add a bit more butter and olive oil and add the defrosted prawns, the crushed garlic and some generous grinds of pepper. Fry for a further 3-5 minutes.
- Put the melon slices onto plates.
- Snip over the chives, scatter over the prawns, bacon and pecan halves.
- Drizzle over each 1 tbsp of pumpkin oil and pomegranate molasses.
- Grind over more black pepper.
- Serve with a flourish!