Tag Archives: prosciutto

Crispy Prosciutto

Crispy Parma tastefood

Do you like crispy bacon? Then try making crispy prosciutto. Oven baking slices of prosciutto (or any other dry cured ham) transforms supple ham slices into crunchy shards ready for munching or crumbling over salads, soups, pastas and vegetables. Baking dehydrates the meat, concentrating its flavor and intensifying its saltiness while cooking off excess fat. The resulting wizened slivers of dried pork add a punch of flavor to almost anything and taste great as simple finger food. I call these salty snippets crack-croutons because they are highly addictive and intensely flavorful. 

Crispy Parma Slices Lynda Balslev

Oven baking is a great way to use up any leftover parma, coppa or prosciutto in your fridge – if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers. If not, the method is so easy and quick it justifies shopping for a whole package to open and pop into the oven. And you don’t have to spring for the expensive stuff – any thinly sliced dry cured ham will do. I often use German prosciutto from Trader Joe’s that’s half the price of the Italian equivalent. 

crispy parma cru Lynda Balslev

To crisp the ham, arrange the slices in one layer, without overlapping, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the ham stay in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and cool, then break into shards. The crispy ham will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week – but I promise it will be long gone by then.

Five ways to use crispy prosciutto:
1. Scatter over mixed salads.
2. Sprinkle over creamy soups and chowders.
3. Garnish eggs and frittatas.
4. Crumble the shards and use to season cooked vegetables.
4. Add to cheesy pasta dishes and homemade pizzas before serving.

Prosciutto Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese

parma date tastefood

Are you having a last minute holiday panic attack? You have the turkey brined, the potatoes smashed, the cranberries sauced, and 4 sorts of vegetables cleaned. But…what if you don’t have enough? (Of course you do). If you are like me, the  last hours of party prep often include last minute additions to the menu – just in case someone, heaven forbid, should waddle, I mean walk, away from the table still hungry.

Such was the inspiration for these stuffed dates. I added them to my holiday menu in a sudden moment of panic (maybe 3 appetizers were not enough!) I had all the ingredients on hand: goat cheese for the cheeseboard, dates to accompany the cheese, rosemary in the garden, and Proscitto, a permanent staple in my refrigerator. Prosciutto is easy to store and ready to pull out for charcuterie boards, draping over pizza, and layering into salads. I love it as is or baked in the oven where it crisps, waiting to be snapped into shards and sprinkled over pasta, soups and salads. For these appetizers, the prosciutto wrapped up the dates, sealing in the filling and creating tidy flavor-packed nuggets – sweet, salty and creamy at once. They were easily assembled one day in advance, simply needing a quick bake to crisp the ham and amplify its saltiness, providing a perfect foil to the sugary dates and mild goat cheese.

Parma Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Makes 12 to 16, depending on the size of the dates

5 ounces mild soft goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely minced rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 to 16 medjool dates
8 slices Parma ham, halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375°F (190C). Combine the goat cheese, rosemary, orange zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix with a fork to soften and combine.
Make a small incision in the dates lengthwise and remove the pits. Using a teaspoon or your fingers, fill the cavities of the dates with the goat cheese. Wrap each date with a strip of Parma ham. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Bake until the ham is slightly golden, about 15 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a serving plate and cool slightly. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serve warm.

Prosciutto Rolls with Arugula, Fennel and Mint

This is my second recipe for Legends from Europe, using Prosciutto di San Daniele. These appetizer rolls are inspired by Vietnamese rice paper spring rolls, with a decided Italian twist. Prosciutto replaces the rice paper as the wrap, adding a salty savory component to the crunchy fresh vegetables and piquant Parmigano filling. No dip required: instead, olive oil, lemon and mint add flavor, aroma and a touch of moistness. You might want to double the batch, because these tend to get gobbled up before you can say Prosciutto di San Daniele.

Prosciutto Rolls with Arugula, Fennel and Mint
Makes 12

6 slices Prosciutto di San Danielle, halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups loosely packed baby arugula leaves
1 medium fennel bulb, fronds trimmed, halved lengthwise, each half thinly sliced lengthwise
4 ounces Parmigiano cheese, shaved
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn in half if large

Place a slice of prosciutto on a work surface, short end closest to you. Lightly brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of lemon zest and a little freshly ground black pepper. Arrange 6 to 8 arugula leaves at the base. Place a few slices of fennel and Parmigiano shavings over the arugula. Top with a few pieces of mint. Roll up from the base, tucking the prosciutto tightly around the vegetables. Continue to roll, placing 1 or 2 additional arugula leaves in the fold as you roll up. Place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Legends of Europe: Prosciutto Figs with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

My mission (should I choose to accept it):  To create an original recipe using Prosciutto di San Daniele from Legends from Europe. Legends from Europe is a 3 year campaign funded by the European Union and launched in the U.S. to increase awareness and celebrate “the legendary quality, tradition and taste” of five authentic PDO products (Protected Designation of Origin) from Europe: Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reffiano, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Grana Padano and Montasio.

As luck would have it, these 5 products happen to be some of my favorites. The biggest challenge I faced was not in accepting this mission but deciding which product to feature. Fortunately, the folks at Legends helped me with my choice and assigned me the Prosciutto di San Daniele.

Prosciutto di San Daniele is named for the region of San Daniele in northeastern Italy where it enjoys a unique micro-climate nestled between the Dolomite Alps and the Adriatic Sea. The ham is left to slow-cure naturally, following a 2,000 year-old tradition introduced by the Celts. Today, Prosciutto di San Daniele is considered a delicacy  with its mild flavor and delicate texture. This week, I will be posting a few recipes I’ve created with Legends’ Prosciutto di San Daniele.

Prosciutto Figs with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

A small rosemary sprig does double duty as a toothpick and aromatic, infusing the figs and goat cheese with its flavor as they bake in the oven. Makes 16 hors-d’oeuvres

8 ripe figs
2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 slices “Legends from Europe” Prosciutto di San Daniele, halved lengthwise
16 3/4-inch rosemary sprigs with stem, plus 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil
Runny honey
Finely grated lemon zest for garnish

Heat oven to 375 F. Halve figs lengthwise. Place figs on a work surface, skin side down. Gently make a small indentation in each center with a teaspoon. Mix goat cheese and pepper together in a small bowl. Fill the indentation with goat cheese, about 1/2 teaspoon. Wrap a prosciutto slice, cross-wise, around fig. Spear a rosemary sprig through the center to hold the prosciutto in place. Repeat with remaining fig halves. Place figs in a baking dish. Lightly brush prosciutto with olive oil. Bake in oven until prosciutto begins to crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer figs to a platter. Remove baked rosemary sprigs and discard (they will be brown). Replace with a few fresh rosemary leaves, without stem. Lightly drizzle figs with honey. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve warm.

Pizza Night: Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza

~ Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza ~

As the saying goes, the shoemaker’s children go barefoot. In my case, they eat pizza. I write about food and develop recipes, yet sometimes I am working so hard on a deadline I don’t have a dinner to feed my family. After a day spent in the kitchen developing a dessert, I would be remiss to feed chocolate cake to the kids for supper. I might spend an afternoon tweaking dressings, sauces and marinades, but I can not feed my family a bowl of vinaigrette. Or I may not make it to the kitchen at all, spending an entire day at the computer writing and researching recipes, only to realize that I never went to the store and the refrigerator remains neglected. As irony would have it, on days like these, once it’s dinnertime I can’t muster any excitement to make much of anything. So I make pizza.

Homemade pizza pleases everyone and is easy to make with a minimum of ingredients. When I make dough for the crust, I double the portion to freeze for emergency pizza nights. If you have a favorite store-bought crust, that’s fine too – just be sure to buy extra and pop it into the freezer. That way when Sunday night rolls around and everyone is asking what’s for dinner, the children (and adults) eat pizza.

Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza

The combination of salty prosciutto, creamy mozzarella and fresh arugula makes this pizza very popular in our home. Be sure not to overload the pizza with the toppings. The amounts below are approximations and will vary with the size of the crust. Makes 1 large rectangular pizza or 2 10-inch pizzas.

Pizza crust (recipe below)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2  cup tomato sauce (recipe below)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
8 slices (3 ounces) prosciutto
4 cups fresh arugula
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese

Preheat oven to 500 F. Using your hands, stretch crust to desired shape and place on parchment paper. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic clove in a small bowl. Lightly brush crust with oil. Smear a thin layer of tomato sauce over the crust, leaving one inch clear around the edges. Scatter a layer of mozzarella over the sauce. Sprinkle with chili flakes. Top with a layer of prosciutto. Sprinkle Parmesan over the pizza. Brush the exposed edges with a little more olive oil.
Slide the parchment and pizzas onto a baking stone on lowest rack in oven. Bake until crust is beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Slide pizza out of the oven and spread arugula over the pizza. It will look like a lot, but will cook down. Return to oven and bake until crust is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, drizzled with olive oil.

Tomato Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15-ounce can crushed Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.

Pizza Dough Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Waters. Makes 2 – 10 inch pizza crusts.

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal disks. Let rest 30 minutes before shaping. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands, stretch the disks out to 10-inch shapes.

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas


~ Orecchiette, Roasted Cauliflower, Oven Dried Prosciutto, Peas, Parmigiano ~

This recipe might best be called the “Calm before the Storm.” Thanksgiving is looming with its promise of feasts, indulgences and lots of leftovers. In anticipation of the predictable holiday chaos and our subsequent food coma, I aim for a moment of zen and economy, creating simple and efficient meals, deliciously comforting while using lurkers in the refrigerator as inspiration and freeing up space for turkey-centric leftovers. In this case, I unearthed a head of cauliflower from the vegetable bin, patiently waiting (as crucifers are so inclined) to be put to use from last week’s farmers market splurge. A chunk of pancetta gamely joined in, skirting its banishment to the freezer, along with a bag of well frozen peas eager for a defrost. Suddenly, I had an easy and healthy dinner on hand with no whiff of leftovers, stuffing or cranberry sauce – that will come later.

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas
Serves 4.

1 medium head cauliflower, cut in 1 inch pieces
Olive oil
Salt
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or pancetta
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375 F. Toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Arrange in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on lowest rack in oven until tender and bottoms are golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to top rack and broil 2-3 minutes until tops are tinged brown. Remove from oven.
While the cauliflower is roasting, arrange prosciutto in one layer on another baking sheet. Bake in same oven on middle rack until dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, break into shards.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, peas and 1 teaspoon salt; toss to warm the peas. Add cauliflower, prosciutto and 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese, gently tossing to combine. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper and additional cheese on the side.

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

~ Baked Stuffed Figs with Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, Rosemary and Honey ~

Food is like fashion. There are some trends that flash then fizzle, while there are classics that withstand the passage of time – just like a little black dress. The combination of figs, goat cheese and prosciutto falls in the little black dress category. Each ingredient is a specialty hailing from the cuisines of the Mediterranean, reflecting locally grown and raised food with a history spanning the ages. And they taste great together. No fancy accoutrements are needed – this is the stuff of slow food.  Whether you call it timeless or simply delicious, the common denominator is it strikes a primal chord in all of us, bringing us back for more.

This recipe showcases the ancient fig, one of the first plants cultivated by humans.  Figs are high in calcium, fiber, potassium and contain many antioxidants.  Luscious and honeyed, they are delicate in flavor.  Their subtle sweetness is an elegant addition to savory dishes such as pizzas and salads, while their mildness adds refinement to desserts, never tipping the sugar point.  Classic, understated and refined – all of the makings of timeless food and good fashion.

Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

Fresh rosemary sprigs serve as toothpicks in assembling the figs while infusing flavor during the baking. Makes 12 hors-d’ouevres, or serves 6 as a salad course.

12 figs, ripe but not too soft
6 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
6 slices prosciutto, sliced in half length-wise
4 large rosemary sprigs, cut in thirds, plus extra for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil
Runny honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)

Cut the figs crosswise from the top, halfway down the fruit.  Gently separate the quarters to create an opening.  Scoop 1-2 teaspoons goat cheese into the opening, without overstuffing.  Wrap each fig with prosciutto slice.  Pierce the prosciutto and fig with a rosemary skewer to hold in place. Arrange figs in a baking pan. Gently brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper (the prosciutto will also add salt). Bake in oven until prosciutto begins to crispen and cheese is tinged brown, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven. Carefully remove and discard baked rosemary sprigs. Arrange figs on serving platter or individual plates with fresh arugula (optional).  Drizzle each fig with honey.  Garnish with fresh rosemary leaves. Serve immediately.

Prosciutto Roll-ups with Arugula, Fennel and Parmesan

Prosciutto roll-ups are the perfect appetizer. Salty strips of prosciutto wrap around leafy arugula sprigs, crispy fennel spears and nutty Parmesan shavings, binding the vegetables together in an edible cocoon basted with lemon and garlic infused oil. This is the best kind of finger food – healthy, fresh and seasonal.

Feel free to fiddle with the ingredients and take advantage of the season’s produce.  Be sure to include a leafy green, a crisp vegetable and cheese for a variety of textures. Other suggestions would include a combination of basil or mint leaves, blanched asparagus spears or crispy pear slices, and pecorino, gorgonzola or manchego cheese.

Prosciutto Roll-ups with Arugula, Fennel and Parmesan
Makes 24 roll-ups

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
12 slices of prosciutto, halved lengthwise
2 cups baby arugula leaves, washed
1 large fennel bulb, fronds removed, sliced in half lengthwise, each half thinly sliced, lengthwise
4 ounces Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese, thinly shaved
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest together in a small bowl.
Place one prosciutto slice on work surface, long side parallel to the edge. Place several arugula leaves at one end. Top with several fennel slices and a few shavings of cheese. Drizzle with a 1/2 teaspoon of the oil. Sprinkle with pepper. Starting at the filled end, roll up the prosciutto. Place seam-side down on a platter. Repeat with remaining slices. Brush the roll-ups with a little of the oil. (May be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature to serve.)

Roasted Asparagus and Prosciutto Spears

If you are looking for a too-easy-to-believe appetizer, then this recipe is the one. Requiring merely 3 ingredients, an oven and less than half an hour to prepare, the finger-licking results belie the ease. This recipe takes advantage of spring’s tender asparagus and salty prosciutto, which is always in season in our home. Baking crisps and coaxes the salt from the ham, while olive oil lightly naps the spears. Be sure to eat these warm straight from the oven – with your fingers.

Roasted Asparagus and Prosciutto Spears
Makes 12

12 asparagus, medium thickness
6 prosciutto slices, halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Lemon (ok, that’s a 4th ingredient, but it’s optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.)
Snap off the woody stems of the asparagus and trim the bottoms with a knife. Wrap a slice of prosciutto diagonally around the asparagus stalks, leaving the tips and base exposed. Brush the exposed bits of the asparagus with olive oil. Arrange on a baking tray. Roast until the asparagus tips are tinged brown and the prosciutto is crispy,  about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange on a plate. Drizzle with a little lemon juice, if desired.

Homemade Duck Prosciutto and a Tartine

For those of you not in the know, there is a fabulous food blog event taking place as we speak. I refer to Charcutepalooza: A Year in Meat, hosted by Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster. These two bloggers have come up with the inspirational idea to cure, smoke and salt their way through Michael Ruhlman’s bestselling cookbook Charcuterie along with the participating food blogging community. I am a huge fan of charcuterie as well as the precepts of using sustainable and humanely raised meat, so it was without hesitation that I joined in the Charcutepalooza party.

The first challenge of the year was to make homemade duck prosciutto. I have long wished to make my own prosciutto, and what better way to get my feet wet (or hands salty) than with duck breasts. The only difficult aspect of the preparation was waiting 7 days for them to cure. During this time I learned two valuable things: Duck prosciutto is extremely easy to make, and that patience is a virtue – at least when it comes to curing meat.

There are many ways to enjoy duck prosciutto, the simplest quite often the best. In this case I prepared a tartine, or a French open-face sandwich. The prosciutto is paired with melting reblochon cheese and layered over mixed greens. At once rustic and fresh, this recipe is a great way to kick off Charcutepalooza’s Year of Meat.

Duck Prosciutto and Reblochon Tartine

Reblochon is a soft cow milk cheese from the Savoie region of the French alps. It may be substituted with Saint Nectaire or Camembert. Try using a variety of greens and herbs. I used what I had on hand: flat leaf parsley, mizuna and radicchio.

Makes 4

2 slices of french country bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups mixed greens, such as lambs lettuce, frisée, green herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 wedges Reblochon or Saint Nectaire cheese
4 sprigs rosemary
4 slices duck prosciutto

Preheat oven broiler. Lightly brush bread with olive oil. Arrange on baking tray and broil, turning once, until lightly golden. Remove from oven, but don’t turn off the heat.
Place greens in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper; toss.
Place wedges of cheese in a small baking pan. Top each wedge with a rosemary sprig. Broil until cheese begins to soften and bubble, 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven.
Arrange bread slices on a plate or platter. Top with greens. Place a cheese wedge on the greens. Lay a slice of prosciutto over the greens and cheese. Sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with a few drops of olive oil. Serve immediately.