Guest chef

Ben Murphy

Ben Murphy is the Head Chef at The Woodford (thewoodford-e18.com) in South Woodford, London. During his time there, the restaurant has picked up awards such as the Champagne Laurent-Perrier London Restaurant of the Year at the London Restaurant Awards.

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Serrano ham and basil-infused melon

  • Serves 4
  • Prep 30 mins
  • Total time 30 mins, plus overnight chilling
5.0/5 rating (1 votes)
Serrano ham and basil-infused melon
Serrano ham and basil-infused melon

step by step

  • 1Halve the melons, deseed and cut off the peel, then cut the flesh of 1 melon into neat 2.5cm cubes – you need about 24 cubes. Keep the trimmings to make the 'soup'. Finely slice 10 large basil leaves and mix with the cubes of melon and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in an airtight plastic container. Chill overnight; the flavours will combine.
  • 2Scoop the flesh of the other ½ melon together with the trimmings into a food processor and blend until it is really smooth.
  • 3Pass the soup through a sieve into a pan and add 10 whole stems of basil (not the leaves). Bring to the boil then immediately remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely, then chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • 4Remove the marinated melon and serrano ham from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving, so they aren't fridge-cold.
  • 5Arrange the ham in twists on 4 starter plates, tucking in the infused diced melon. Scatter with a few small rocket leaves and basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Discard the basil stalks from the chilled melon soup and serve it on the side, in little bottles or shot glasses.
  • Recipe photograph by Steve Ryan

Get ahead

Start this recipe the day before, and prepare to the end of step 3.

You will need

  • 1½ ripe cantaloupe melons
  • 1 pot of growing basil
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 2 x 70g packs serrano ham
  • wild rocket, to garnish

+ Nutritional Information