Chilled Cantaloupe & Parma Ham Soup Recipe for Every Palate

I'll admit it, the thought of melon and Parma ham in a soup made me raise an eyebrow. Sweet and savoury? A little too fancy for my usual repertoire? But then I saw the recipe, and the words 'summery' and 'elegant' whispered in my ear. Challenge accepted!

This was my first foray into the world of cantaloupe and Parma ham soup, and I was nervous. Could these contrasting flavours really work together? Would it be too sweet, too salty, too...something? The answer, friends, is a resounding NO! This soup is a revelation.

The recipe was surprisingly straightforward. I diced some cantaloupe, blanched it briefly, and then puréed it with some chicken stock. The result was a smooth, vibrant orange base. The Parma ham was added later, thinly sliced and gently simmered in the soup until it gave its salty, meaty goodness.

The first spoonful was a revelation. The sweetness of the melon was balanced perfectly by the salty ham, creating a symphony of flavour. The texture was creamy and comforting, and the hint of fresh basil added a touch of herbaceous magic. It was elegant, surprising, and utterly delicious.

Lessons Learned: Don't be afraid to experiment! This soup taught me that culinary boundaries can be broken, and that seemingly odd combinations can be utterly delightful.
Quality ingredients are key: The richness of the Parma ham and the sweetness of the cantaloupe were essential to the success of the dish.
Simplicity is key: This soup doesn't require a million ingredients or complicated steps. It's all about letting the high-quality ingredients speak for themselves.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: None
Serves: 4

1 ripe cantaloupe, weighing about 1.5kg
8 slices of Parma ham
salt and pepper
basil leaves, to garnish

1. Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds.  Scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender and whizz until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Finely 4 of the ham slices and stir them into the soup.  Cut the remaining 4 slices into thin ribbons.

3. Garnish the soup with the ham ribbons and basil leaves. Add a swirl of crème fraîche for extra decoration, if desired.

Bonus Tip: Serve this chilled soup on a hot day for a truly decadent summer experience.