I don’t mean to brag, but I truly feel that I have found the best Prosecco pairing for summer. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. I’ll admit it. Truly, I’m a huge believer that there are a TON of foods that can create mind-blowing pairings for any given wine. So, allow me to be a bit more specific and set the scene.
After extensive travels in Australia and a month in California with friends, I am currently parked in New Braunfels, Texas with family until I get my butt over to Sardinia to be with my boyfriend in September. If you’re not familiar with New Braunfels, this city sits about half way between Austin and hell. Ok, that’s a joke. New Braunfels is between Austin and San Antonio, both amazing cities. It’s completely gorgeous, the people are friendly, my parents decided to build a house here, and everything is lovely. But it is SO DAMN HOT! We’re talking 100° F and 50% humidity or more. That’s impossible-to-be-outside-unless-you’re-in-the-pool hot.
And I know Texas isn’t the only place on earth experiencing sweltering temperatures this summer. Western Europe is practically melting into the Mediterranean. It is summer, after all, and summer is usually, well, hot!
I don’t know about you, but when it’s this hot outside, a quick and easy dinner with a chilled glass of vino after a sun-filled, fun-filled day is just what I want.
That being said, I present to you the best Prosecco pairing for summer: a crispy prosciutto, summer melon, and stone fruit salad. YUM!
This salad is a take on a classic, simple combo served in Italy and throughout other Mediterranean countries – prosciutto and cantaloupe. The ultimate sweet and salty combo. Only my version takes it up a couple of notches! But before we get into the recipe, let’s talk about why this salad works so well as a Prosecco pairing.
Prosecco Pairing 101
First and foremost, if you are only drinking Prosecco topped with O.J., please do yourself a favor and check out my Prosecco blog post breaking down all the beauty Prosecco has to offer and what types of Prosecco you should be seeking out. Even if you are a huge fan of Prosecco, you might learn a thing or two in this post. Who knows!?
When we think of the aromatic and flavor profiles of Prosecco, this wine truly is the perfect bubbly beverage for summer. Prosecco is mainly produced with Glera – a delicate, white Italian variety grown in the Veneto. The best Prosecco is produced in a region called Conegliano Valdobbiadene where Glera has been grown for over 300 years! But you’ll learn all about that in my other blog post.
Glera is a variety that contributes very fruity and delicate white floral notes to the finished wine. Since Prosecco is produced using the Charmat Method where the secondary fermentation occurs in a tank rather than in bottle, there is less lees contact. This means the fruity characteristics are allowed to shine through in the finished wine.
So, what types of fruit and floral aromatics are we talking here? In a typical Prosecco, you’ll discover notes of green apple, honeydew melon, pear, and honeysuckle. You may also pick up on notes of lemon or lime, white jasmine, or other white florals. In Prosecco from the Rive or Cartizze D.O.C.G. designations, you could even find aromatics of various stone fruits or almond. Of course, everyone’s palate is different, so below I’ve included some rules of thumb for Prosecco pairing.
- Like many sparkling wines, Prosecco showcases higher acidity.
- Wines with high acidity pair well with and are able to stand beside dishes of higher acidity.
- High acid wines pair nicely with rich, fatty foods because the fat in the dish will round out and balance the acidity of the wine nicely.
- The fruit forward nature of Prosecco is often perceived as sweetness. Though the Extra Dry and Dry styles of Prosecco have added sugar and are, in fact, sweeter.
- Prosecco works well with dishes that have a sweet component because the sweetness in the dish enhances the fruity character of the wine.
- Because Prosecco leans toward the sweeter end of the spectrum, this wine is actually great with medium heat spicy cuisines, ideally Southeast Asian food.
- The acidity in Prosecco cuts the richness of Thai dishes, like curries that have coconut milk.
- The sweetness tames the heat in spicy dishes while the spice brings forward the fruity notes.
- Though green vegetables are not always easy to match, a Prosecco pairing works perfectly.
- The fruity aromatics of the wine subdue those green, vegetal notes (think asparagus, green snap peas, snow peas, etc.).
Why This Prosecco Pairing Works
This crispy prosciutto salad, summer melon, and stone fruit salad is absolutely delicious on its own. I could see this going over well at your next backyard BBQ get together! But as a Prosecco pairing, this salad is MIND BLOWING. Honestly, for me, one of the most magical aspects of being alive is tasting perfectly matched food and wine pairings. There is something so divine when the flavors of that magical bite make all the best parts of the wine sing!
Here’s why this Prosecco pairing works.
- The fattiness of the prosciutto (one of my favorite pieces of charcuterie ever created) is balanced out by the acidity of the wine.
- The prosciutto’s saltiness elevates the sweet characteristics and fruity aromatics of the Prosecco.
- The sweet, ripe honeydew and peaches really bring out the fresh fruit notes of the wine.
- The arugula has that bit of peppery spice, which is refreshed by the bubbles. The vegetal quality of the greens is kept in balance by the sweet characteristics of the wine.
- The fresh basil makes all of the above pop!
- The toasted hazelnuts pair nicely with the sweetness of the wine and complement some styles of Prosecco that can have biscuit or cream qualities.
- A simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice provide the fat and acidity to complement the wine.
There you have it friends! This is my new favorite Prosecco pairing and my new favorite summer salad in general. Recipe below for your eating and pairing pleasure. I’d love to know your favorite Prosecco pairings in the comments below! If you make this salad, I’d be so happy if you snapped a photo and sent it to me or tagged me on Instagram. (@palm.and.vine) Cheers!
This is the ultimate summer salad with an elevated spin on the classic combination of prosciutto and cantaloupe. The salad is the perfect pairing for Prosecco or a sweeter, aromatic white wine like Gewürztraminer. The honeydew can be switched out for cantaloupe or watermelon, while juicy, white nectarines could be used in place of peaches. I recommend sticking with the toasted hazelnuts as opposed to any other nuts because they provide such a lovely, rich flavor when toasted.
- 1 5oz bag of arugula (use as much or as little as you desire)
- 5 oz prosciutto (4-5 slices)
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
- 10 leaves of fresh basil
- 1-2 peaches, remove the pit and slice into wedges
- 1/2 honeydew melon, sliced into wedges and cut away from skin (or cut as desired)
- 1 fresh squeeze of lemon juice
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt & pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350°F
Place prosciutto slices on a piece of parchment paper and place on the oven rack. Or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay prosciutto slices there. Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. Prosciutto will continue to crisp once out of oven, so it's ok if not completely crunchy when removed.
While prosciutto is crisping, put hazelnuts in a small baking tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Remove, allow to cool, then remove skins if needed. Place in a ziploc bag and carefully, lightly crush the hazelnuts using the bottom of a pan.
Prepare the fruit while the prosciutto crisps in the oven. Once the prosciutto has cooled, you can break it up into pieces if you'd like. Lay a bed of arugula on a serving dish or in a large salad bowl, then plate the salad as desired with the cut honeydew melon, sliced peaches, crispy prosciutto, toasted hazelnuts, and basil leaves. I like serving the fruit in large slices and the basil leaves whole so people can cut as they see fit and get a taste of every ingredient in each bite. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.