This chilled melon soup is impressive enough to be the first course for a formal dinner party yet so easy it can be a light, refreshing workday supper on a hot day. I either make the soup the night before or I whip it up as soon as I get home from work; then I can relax with a glass of wine and watch my boys run through the sprinkler while the soup chills. You can kick back as long as you like because this soup is happy to hang out in your fridge, chilling, until you're ready to eat.
1. Puree the cantaloupe chunks in a food processor until very smooth. (If the melon chunks don't all fit in your food processor, just whip them up in several batches.) Add sherry and lime juice and pulse (or stir together) until thoroughly mixed, just 10 seconds or so. Pour into a serving bowl or pitcher and store in the refrigerator until the soup is well chilled, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. About 15 minutes before you'd like to serve the soup, sauté the prosciutto in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until crispy, about 7 minutes. Let it cool and then top each serving of soup with about 2 teaspoons of crispy prosciutto; spoon it into a sort of mound in the center of the soup. Spoon the extra prosciutto into a small bowl and set it on the table so guests can help themselves to more if they like. For the mint garnish, sprinkle it around the edge of the soup.
3. Twist It: This is a simple addition but it changes the soup. Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint to the food processor at the very end. If you're processing in two batches, just add 1/4 cup to each batch.
4. Cat's Note: Don't get too hung up on the weight of the melon called for here. Just aim for about 8 cups of melon chunks and, if you have more, spoon in a little more sherry and lime juice to taste.