Sunday, August 9, 2009

Prosciutto Made Simple--And Then Some

Prosciutto makes everything better. There's really nothing like this delicious dried Italian ham in America. Monday night--It was the star of the meal in Titian's kitchen at Capri Flavors when her recipe for Crespelle al Formaggio e Prosciutto took the classic combination of ham and cheese to new heights. Her cooking class students said these wonderful crepes (recipe follows) even out shined the lobster in the her popular menu from the Parma region.

But you don't even have to turn on the stove to impress with prosciutto. It is good enough to stand alone--even better paired with something cool and sweet. In Italy, Prosciutto and Melon is a classic summer starter. You'll find it on almost every restaurant menu.

In Titina's Kitchen, she loves to serve prosciutto with her home grown figs this time of year. (Her dog also loves to eat the figs, by the way, and steals them right off the bush.) These fragile fruit are worth searching for at your local farmers' market. Sliced open with prosciutto on the side they are the perfect contrast of sweet and salty flavors and a great way to celebrate the lazy days of summer.

But if you're feeling a bit ambitious, make some crepes. Here's the recipe that wowed Titina's cooking class this week.

Crespelle al Formaggio e Prosciutto (Cheese and Ham Crepes)

Ingredients:For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

1 cup milk

½cup parsley chopped

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

For the Bechamel Sauce:

5 Tbsp butter

3 cups milk

4 Tbsp all-purpose flour


For the Filling:

1 lb. Of mixed cheeses (Provolone, Fontina, Asiago)

1 lb. chopped mozzarella

½lb. prosciutto cotto (ham) chopped

Serves:8; Preparation Time: 35 minutes: Cooking time: 15 minutes;

Difficulty: medium

To make the batter mix the flour with the eggs, a pinch of salt, the olive oil, milk, chopped parsley and leave to stand for at least 15 minutes

To make the Bechamel

Melt the butter, add the flour, stir in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt.

Melt a little butter in a non-stick shallow pan and make thin pancake with the batter.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cheese, prosciutto and béchamel mix well. Spread the pancakes with 2 Tbsp of filling and roll them up, and into pieces approximately 1to 2 inches long. Grease a soufflé dish and lay the pieces of pancake in it. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 Degrees F for 15 minutes.

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