Prosciutto 5 Ways

Prosciutto is an Italian dry cured ham that is typically sliced thin, and served uncooked or prosciutto crudo in Italian.  Prosciutto is taken from the hind leg or thigh.  The meat is first salted and left for about two months before it is then cleaned and placed in a well-ventilated area to dry.  The drying process can take as long as two years depending on the climate. 

The dry-cured ham is most often served as antipasto, either by itself, or as part of a larger assortment of meats and cheeses.  But there are many other quick and easy ways to use prosciutto.  Here are some easy pairings that might add some versatility to this cured meat in your establishment.

With Fruit – Thin slices of prosciutto have traditionally been wrapped around wedges of cantaloupe or sweet, ripe figs.  You can enhance this idea by trying pairing with other, similar fruits – peaches, mangos, apricots or nectarines would all work.  Try stuffing the figs with fresh ricotta, and perhaps some toasted walnuts, then wrapping them in prosciutto.  Or perhaps prosciutto and grilled peaches to really enhance the gourmet taste.

Fried Dough – In Tuscany, fresh, hot fried dough balls called coccoli are often served together with thick slices of prosciutto and a soft, mild cheese.  Wrap a slice of prosciutto around hot coccolo, for a quick and easy appetizer.

As A Pizza Topping – An obvious use for prosciutto is to layer a plain pizza with slices of fresh prosciutto.  Perhaps you can add generous handfuls of fresh arugula and onions or some green olives to add some color.

With Vegetables – Prosciutto is often wrapped around small bundles of steamed, blanched, roasted or grilled asparagus, and served as-is, or then passed under the broiler until the prosciutto is crisp and browned.  You can try this idea with other vegetables as well: green beans or artichokes, sauté green peas with small strips of chopped prosciutto and serve with fresh mint.

As A Crispy Topping – Finely chop slices of prosciutto into small, thin strips and fry them over medium-high heat in a skillet until crisp.  You can use these as a topping for salads, soups, pastas, risottas or anything else.

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