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Ham canapes with melon butter

(Crostini di prosciutto al burro di melone)

  • 50 grams of butter
  • 50 grams of melon pulp (the winter melon) - sweet and ripe
  • 3 spoons of dry Marsala
  • 1 spoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tea spoon of curry
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tea spoon of sugar
  • 50 grams of Tuscan ham cut into very thin slices
  • some slices of stale Tuscan bread
Put the butter in a glass bowl and place it in a warm environment, but not on the heat, in order to soften the butter. When it will be softened, beat it very well with a small whisk until it will become neat and "foaming". Then take the blender and put inside melon, dry Marsala, lemon, curry, salt and sugar and mix them all together in order to have a quite thick purée. Take the bowl with the softened butter and beat it once again with the whisk adding one spoon or two spoons each time of melon purée until you will reach a perfect mixture. Put this stuff in the refrigerator for 2/3 hours in order to thicken it: turn and beat it each 30 minutes. Then cut some very thin slices of Tuscany bread, grill them very lightly, in order to have a superficial toasting, spread the melon butter and position, over this stuff, a slice of Tuscany bread. The quantity for each person is about 4 canapés.
It is the classic "ham and melon", a bitter-sweet flavour of ancient tradition, another variation of "bonum vinum cum popone" presented in a different manner and with particular aromatic shades. It can be served as a single course for quick meals. In order to have a balanced bitter-sweet flavour, it is necessary to use the Tuscany "salted" ham, but not the one that you can find commonly in every grocery, whose main flavour is represented only by the salt. The best ham to use for this recipe is the one of the "berated" farmer, and in this case these canapés would reveal totally their goodness.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati


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