I am not the most carnivorous of people. While I love a good steak every now and then, I have been known to go for long stretches of time in a rabbit-like state, feasting on vegetables, fruits and grains. There is certainly plenty of gorgeous, fresh produce in Italy so when I am there it is not a difficult thing to do. Except for the fact that there is also prosciutto. Just like Reggiano Parmigiano is the King of Cheeses, Prosciutto di Parma reigns supreme and it is enough to turn a wannabe vegetarian like myself back to the dark side. Prosciutto should be served paper thin, almost transparent and while I admit that it is expensive, it takes a lot of paper thin slices to make up a pound. And with such an incredible flavor, a little goes a long way. Some of my favorite ways to serve prosciutto (or have it served to me):
- Pizzeria da Francesco around the corner from the Piazza Navona in Rome serves piping hot pizza bianca with sea salt and rosemary alongside a plate of prosciutto (they serve San Daniele prosciutto which in my opinion trumps prosciutto di Parma, believe it or not).
- Prosciutto and melon or figs - the perfect mix of sweet and salty. Wait for the height of the melon or fig season. I think my husband fell in love with me when I introduced him to prosciutto and melon in Rome.
- Smoked gouda and caramelized onion quesadillas with prosciutto. This is not an Italian dish so the recipe won't make the blog but email me for the recipe and you will be a rock star at your next cocktail party.
- Prosicutto Wrapped Asparagus - this is a perfect recipe right now as Spring is upon us or on its way (that's what they tell us anyway). You can serve this as an appetizer or a side dish.
- Preheat oven to 450
- Trim the woody ends of 24 spears of asparagus (use medium size - not pencil thin or really thick)
- starting just below the tip, wrap a half piece of prosciutto around the asparagus
- Place in oven and roast for about 10 minutes until prosciutto is caramelized and the asparagus is just tender.
- Serve warm or at room temperature