I was pretty excited mid-July to sign up for a meetup with PDX Food Bloggers. This awesome free event on August 17 was being hosted at Whole Foods in the Pearl, and included awesome sponsors such as Tiny Prints, Rebekah from PDX Food Love, Fabiola from Not Just Baked, and Jenni from A Well Craft Party. To give a fun little twist, the meetup event included Justin from Whole Foods giving us a little background and tastings of wine and a Spanish cheese, and a casual tapas competition for the guest food bloggers attending!
We started out with a very light and refreshing white, Marques de Gelida Brut Reserva Cava 2009. Then, my mind was blown with the buttery color and round soft but acidic backbone flavors of the 2003 R. López de Heredia Vina Tondonia Vinos Finos de Rioja Vina Gravonia 2003. It’s very rare to find such a complex white. I would have brought some home but I already was carrying a lot to take on the streetcar- but I will be back to add this to my wine cellar.
Next was a Dehesa La Granja 2006, and I appreciated that this Tempranillo was not fruit forward but reveled in its more woody, tannic richness. We finished with a bright Manzanilla La Gitana sherry. Then Bee (of The Spicy Bee) was telling us a little bit about how tapas originated, and it was time to go around the room and sample all the entries!
For my contribution, although I admit my favorite to go order at any Spanish tapas if available are always the patatas bravas and the tortilla, I decided to go with something simpler. Something that for instance, wouldn’t require cooking AT ALL. What came to mind was a Prosciutto Cantaloupe recipe. But, I wanted to expand on the sweet fresh fruit and salty fatty taste of the prosciutto cantaloupe by adding some spiciness and hint of citrus acid, as well as a little bit more savory, with red pepper lime oil and manchego!
Prosciutto wrapped Cantaloupe with Red Pepper Lime Oil and Manchego (serves 20, ~2 pieces each)
- 1 cantaloupe. You can also use any melon you wish, such as honeydew
- 16 pieces of prosciutto or parma ham, or other thinly sliced cured meat of your choice – this equaled 2 packages for me
- 4 teaspoons of olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lime- I think this ended up being about 2.5 – 3 teaspoons for me?
- 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
- 4 ounces of Manchego cheese or other Spanish cheese of your choice, or you could try another hard but bold cheese like Asiago
- 1 teaspoon of rosemary
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- The first thing I do is prepare the red pepper lime oil. I took the olive oil, lime juice and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and whisk them gently together and let the red pepper flakes flavor the lime oil.
- Then you can start your slicing of the cantaloupe from the rind, remove the seeds, and cut into 1 inch pieces, which yielded about almost 50 pieces I think for me. Maybe some wound up small and I ate some. Ahem. Here’s a useful 1 min Youtube video on cutting cantaloupe if you need it, though it stops at creating 1/8 of a melon sized slices, and then you need to cut 4 pieces from each slice that are about an inch each.
- For the prosciutto, the pieces I had were pretty wide (probably 3 inches wide) so I sliced them into thirds, you may only need to slice yours in half. Wrap each slice of prosciutto around each piece of melon. Don’t worry if perhaps when trying to lift it up some pieces tear- probably you will be able to wrap the prosciutto around slightly more than once anyway, so a little loss can get tucked under the wrap (or… be test pieces for you are the preparer. Quality control you know). It should pretty much stick by itself to the melon.
- Next, I lightly brushed on the spicy lime oil on the top side of the wrapped melon. I cut up the manchego into small pieces that I could then place on the top, and brushed with the spicy lime oil again, and then speared with a toothpick to keep them together for convenience for those eating.
- Arrange all of these on a plate, and sprinkle the last 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or less, depending on how spicy you want it and how potent your flakes are) and the 1 teaspoon rosemary, and finally the freshly ground pepper.
Another recipe you can prepare while simultaneously say, watching Project Runway as you prep it. And look how fancy it looks! AND, I won 3rd place! I think a bit of it has to do with luck as I believe there was a 5 way tie after 1st and 2nd, and I was just lucky that my dish card got randomly pulled (and how clever was it for there to already be printed cards for people to write their dish name, ingredients, etc- so prepared and helpful and stylish!). I’m going to write about what was in my prize, and the goodie bag, at another time. But, also, I did think the use of that spicy lime oil is an unexpected (but easy!) upgrade to this dish.
I actually had another cut set of cantaloupe that did not have prosciutto on it for vegetarians, but then I left it at home (and F ate it all!). But, I’m sure you’ll be more considerate that I was. And meanwhile, look at this wonderful plate of the samples I was able to enjoy from our little tapas walkaround, sampling everyone’s creations! It was so hard to vote that I was so glad when Jenni said we could get 5 marbles to vote with instead of 3, and even then it was so hard. Everyone made such delicious and beautiful bites.
And, yes, that’s totally a cronut over there on the bottom right. I totally went back for a second (from 1/2 of Thyme of Taste- his other baking half won the tapas competition!) to take back home and show F. And eat myself of course.
I also wanted to skip home when Beeb (who I mostly know from one of her many blogs, Cooking Catastrophe) let me take the whole leftover loaf (which btw was enjoyed with friends who helped me polish off the prosciutto cantaloupe leftovers and a bottle of white and 2 beers…). I also confess I went for seconds of the Greek Crostini from Rachel of Tossing the Script and loved the combination of spicy sass yet tropical escape yet so Portland combo of jalapeno with pineapple and wrapped with bacon (SEE?) from Marisa of Margaritas in the Rain. Because you know, I was trying to help everyone out so these ladies wouldn’t have to carry too much home by getting those seconds. That’s me, very helpful and thinking of others.
The Tapas Attendees whose blogs you should be checking as they probably took more photos to fill you in on the event! I think this is everyone- I hope I didn’t inadvertently leave someone out!
- PDX Food Love
- Not Just Baked
- A Well Craft Party
- The Spicy Bee
- Tossing the Script
- Margaritas in the Rain
- Cooking Catastrophe
- Urban Bliss Life
- Thyme of Taste – who won first prize with her pumpkin flan btw!
- Madey Edlin Blog
- Kung Foo Feltus
- Mary Eats