This gorgeous, end-of-summer salad will keep your taste buds at full alert from first to last bite. You might even lick the plate.
Like most of the baby boom generation, I grew up on the ubiquitous American iceberg lettuce salad with the usual assortment of dreary bottled dressings. It was only in adulthood that I discovered that fruit could be used to good effect in a salad—beyond the ghastly sweet coconut and marshmallow concoctions that sat high and proud on every family buffet of my youth.
I can still remember the REVELATION in my early 20’s of fresh, sweet-tart strawberries in an arugula salad with a tropical fruit dressing. And a mind-blowing pear and baby greens salad with blue cheese, candied walnuts, and poppy seed dressing. I was hooked from the first bites.
I’ve created dozens of variations on the savory fruit salad theme over the years and shared some of favorites with you here (see the list below).
So when I spied Charentais Melon & Venus Grapes with Torn Prosciutto, Pistachios, Lemon Yogurt, Goat Cheese & Mint many moons ago on the lunch menu at Wildwood Restaurant in Portland, I had to try it.
It was delicious of course and ripe for riffing.
My rendition swaps the grapes for perfect Northwest blackberries and ups the flavor a notch by including Blackberry Lime Syrup with Star Anise. I couldn’t detect the goat cheese in the Wildwood original, but you will definitely taste it in the Yogurt Chevre Dressing here.
A deep bow of appreciation to Chef Dustin Clark for his unflagging creativity, which is a constant source of inspiration. He is one of the reasons Portland Oregon is such a great place to live and eat.
Tuscan Melon & Blackberry Salad with Prosciutto & Yogurt Chevre Dressing
This gorgeous, end-of-summer salad will keep your taste buds at full alert from first to last bite. You might even lick the plate. It’s a simple salad really, especially if you make the blackberry sauce and yogurt dressing ahead. And because it is simple, it depends critically on perfect melon and blackberries, which are easy to find in Northwest farmers markets right now.
Yogurt Chevre Dressing (recipe below)
Blackberry Lime Syrup with Star Anise
1 ripe Charentais, Dulcinea Tuscan, or regular cantaloupe melon
1 cup ripe blackberries
4 ounces prosciutto
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
fresh mint, cut into narrow shreds
- Prepare the Yogurt Chevre Dressing and Blackberry Lime Syrup with Star Anise. Reserve in the fridge.
- For each salad, use a flexible spatula to draw a smear of dressing across the plate.
- Arrange four melon slices on each plate, along with a mound of blackberries.
- Drizzle the syrup and then more of the dressing across the melon.
- Arrange 2 slices of prosciutto on opposite sides of the melon and then sprinkle the toasted almonds and shredded mint over the melon.
- Serve immediately.
Makes 4 salads.
Yogurt Chevre Dressing
I love this tangy dressing over most fruit, but especially ripe melon, peaches, nectarines, and plums.
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 ounce fresh goat cheese (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, goat cheese, honey, and lime juice.
- Taste and add a little more honey if you think the dressing should be a touch sweeter.
- Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.
Make a generous ½ cup.
More LunaCafe Salads
- Caramelized Pear Salad with Gorgonzola, Candied Spiced Walnuts & Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
- Indian Summer Tomato, Orange & Sweet Onion Salad
- Summer Tomato, Sweet Onion & Blackberry Salad with Basil Mint Crema
- Prawn & Strawberry Salad with Fresh Herb Panna Cotta
- Sweet Cherry & Pea Vine Salad with Basil & Mint
Disclosure: The Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission graciously provided $25 toward ingredients for this post. Follow them on Facebook.
Copyright 2011 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.
That looks delicious . . . but – even not being from the boomer gen – I do have a soft spot for iceberg lettuce.
Woah. Yeah, pretty sure I’d lick the plate clean on this. Love me some melon and Oregon berries! And that yogurt chevre!
Wow this is stunning! I’m not sure mine would look quite as perfect as yours, but I would love to test out this recipe!
Susan, this may be the most beautiful salad I have ever seen. The presentation is perfection! I love the idea of blackberries and melon together with prosciutto. A wonderful celebration of summer!
I pinned and added to my yummly account because this looks amazing!
My very first experience with prosciutto was when it was wrapped around melon! I’ve been hooked ever since!
Wow, those platings and photos are gorgeous!
How beautiful is this? It’s so beautiful, I pinned it even before I read your post – I knew immediately it was a recipe I was going to love! What could be more classic then melon and proscuitto and this recipe must just turn up the volume on those classic flavors.
Susan S. Bradley
Thank you, Chris! 🙂
Totally beautiful…I love this salad, such a great twist on the prosciutto-melon salad – wow!
Susan S. Bradley
Thank you, Sara! Heading over to see what you are up to. 🙂
Mary (Fit and Fed)
Beautiful photos, both from the Farmer’s Market and of your fruit salad. Your garnishes are outstanding as always and your fruit selections are perfect for late summer/early fall in the Northwest when the melons are finally ripe and the blackberry bushes are covered with berries.
Susan S. Bradley
Thank you, Mary! 🙂 The blackberries are FINALLY ripe on the Olympic Peninsula. Not nearly as large as the ones we get at the farmers market, but very sweet and juicy nonetheless. No one seems to be picking them though, so today I will head out with a large bowl and see if I can get enough for a pie.