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Uses for diced prosciutto?

I could just smack myself upside the head! I was at the store after dinner tonight, and in the deli section they had 7 oz. packages of diced prosciutto that expire March 8th at half off, so only $2.99 each. I stood there staring at one in my hand deciding if there was anything I could use it for, or if I could freeze it, then decided against it.

On the way home I thought, Spaghetti Carbonara! Argh, now I have to scurry back there in the morning.

In the meantime, I thought I'd ask, what else could diced prosciutto be used for? I googled freezing prosciutto—it appears if I make a foil pouch for it, then seal it inside a freezer bag, it should last a few months. At this price I'm not opposed to buying a second package to test this out if there's another good use for it.

Any ideas or suggestions or a good recipe using diced prosciutto? Thanks!

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  1. Risotto! Buon appetito!

    1. Pizza, prosciutto bread, amatriciana sauce, sautéed with greens or with other veg. salad. Pretty much endless options of pasta.

      1. A la vodka is my favorite use. I buy cheap hunks of proscuitto all the time and freeze, it's fine for cooking. I recently used some in an asparagus quiche, which was very nice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: coll

          Yeah, I also seek out the ends of prosciutto to dice up and use for dishes. Sauteed diced prosciutto is the base of my white bean and kale soup. Great for ragus too, like the lamb and mushroom one I just made and am heating up to finish off as we speak. :-) Crisped up diced prosciutto is also a great salad topper and great in a lot of pasta dishes besides carbonara. There are so many possibilities.

        2. Pureed asparagus (save tips) with heavy cream, nutmeg, asparagus tips, and chopped prosciutto that has been warmed in a bit of butter, mixed and served over penne w/ parmigianno-reggianno.

          1. Eggs. Start the meat in a pan, when it is sweating, add beaten eggs and softly scramble. Some diced onions mixed in with the ham wouldn't be a bad addition either.

            1. prosciutto is a cured raw ham, it will last way beyond the packet date.

              If it smells good it will be good and in my experience of good bacon

              this has lasted in the fridge for a month.

              If you feel you need to use it:

              tonight for me is a baked spud

              with a topping:

              sautéed lardons (prosciutto)

              a few button mushrooms along with them

              finely chopped eshcalote

              and a third of a can of Heinz Beans added at the last minute

              to heat through.

              by the way, My lardons are always frozen and come out fine.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Naguere

                Sounds good, but what is eshcalote?!

                1. re: meatn3

                  I am guessing shallots (echalote in French)

                  1. re: lunchslut

                    Yep, sorry about that, it was the only word I could think of.

              2. An Italian American friend always adds it to her chicken or veal marsala.

                1. I use it in my bolognese, in any meat ragu (including duck and lamb based) in any meat and cheese based stuffed pasta (agnolotti, tortellini, ravioli), in any bean chowder (instead of or even in addition to ham hocks) or basically in any dish that can benefit from salty, porky goodness. It can redefine any tomato based sauce (thinking tomato, prosciutto & porcini mushrooms), makes a cream and cheese based sauce sing (thinking paglio e fieno with peas, prosciutto, parmesan & cream). It is great in any braising recipe including Osso Buco (beef, lamb or veal) in countless braised chicken recipes (chicken Canzanese would be lost without it) and any beef stew welcomes its addition.

                  It's actually easier to think of things it doesn't belong in, savory-wise, than in what it does!

                  1. With that price I suspect you got something like Abraham Diced Prosciutto Ham from Germany. I've found this on occasion at Grocery Outlet, and Trader Joes might even carry it. Typically it's in a plastic tray with film cover.

                    It's not real Italian long-aged raw prosciutto, the kind you get in paper thin slices from the deli for $20/lb. But it is a step up from deli boiled ham or even the US made 'black forest ham'. My local butcher when they were selling it in bulk labeled it as 'diced Canadian bacon'.

                    I use it to flavor a variety of things, much like I would use diced rendered bacon, except it is lean. It would be nice a Carbonara, as long as you can withstand the derision of the purists. Or cooked with scrambled eggs, in a soup, etc.

                    1. I've bought it at GO several times and several at a time because I don't live anywhere near a GO and the price of diced is ultra cheap. I toss it in the freezer for later use.
                      Friday night husband got home late-ish because of a verbal altercation with a nimrod.
                      I was planning on easy dinner pasta al carbonara (or however you say it) and used my diced prosciutto for it. delicious

                      1. We regularly buy the end of proscuitto at a discount and use them to flavor all sorts of dishes, usually frying the cubes or sprinkling them on top of a dish that will bake in the oven. All kinds of pasta dishes--tomatoes with herbs, creamy with cheese, bitter greens and olives. Also great on top of pizzas, especially caramelized onions or bitter greens--as well as scalloped and au gratin potatoes. All in all, a great way to add flavor to dishes without using a lot of meat. (And yes, it freezes perfectly.)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: escondido123

                          Oh what great ideas, thank you! (Sorry for the delay coming back to this thread, my ISP had issues this morning.)

                          For those that freeze it, do you just toss the packet into the freezer without any special prep like packing it in foil first?

                          And yes, it is the stuff from Germany. I didn't realize that GO carried it. There's one a couple of miles from here, I should check it out.

                          As luck would have it, I have asparagus in the house. Bought a pound of the pencil-thin variety for 99¢ per pound last night, thinking I'd have it with the Sticky Chicken I have marinating for tomorrow.

                          I'll have to keep an eye on the clearance basket in the deli at this market. They also had 3.5 oz. wedges of roquefort cheese marked down to $3.99 with a $3 mail-in rebate (Best By date of 3/7/12). I've been working on blue cheese dressing lately, but I'll make a batch using this roquefort instead for the salad tomorrow night.

                          1. re: RelishPDX

                            It is fully sealed so just throw it in the freezer.

                        2. You can toss it into a lot of things....fried rice, bean soup, potato croquettes....

                          Prosciutto would go with asparagus, fennel, spinach, brussel sprouts, or similar vegetables you may roast or saute. Figs and melons are traditional flavor pairings.

                          1. Isn't carbonara usually made with pancetta? I'm sure it would taste delicious with prosciutto, but I don't' know that you would get enough fat rendered out....

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: kubasd

                              There are some strong feelings about the meat in carbonara. But I've seen little talk about the importance of the rendered fat to the dish. In my experience, the egg and cheese (plus pasta water as needed) do more to create the sauce than the fat. The meat itself provides a nice texture contrast. For that the diced ham would do as well as bacon/pancetta/guanciale. I'd use some olive oil when sauteing the ham.

                              1. re: kubasd

                                I've used leftover ham in carbonara, using reserved bacon grease, and it was very tasty. When I'm lucky enough to get some real country/Southern/Virginia ham, the first dish I make is carbonara.

                                1. re: RelishPDX

                                  I'm curious about buying the butt end of the prosciutto, Obviously, I'd ask the deli manager to save me one, but what do they usually charge for it? I'm guessing the butt would be more than a pound, but would have many uses. Thanks

                                  1. re: chefdaddyo

                                    $4 when I can get it. It's the good imported stuff too. My deli counter has them all packaged up and ready to go when they do have them, don't even have to ask.

                                    1. re: chefdaddyo

                                      Imnsho, it should be a quarter the price of the proper sliceable parts or less, but I have seen places charging as much as half or more at which point I laugh and go buy proper prosciutto elsewhere. ;)

                                      1. re: MikeG

                                        For sure, the end piece does have a lot of skin and gristle; if either of my slicers worked better I'd love to slice it thin, but it's really only good as an chopped up add-in to the type of dishes mentioned above.

                                        1. re: coll

                                          Absolutely, that was my point. If they want me to pay half price for the end, I'd sooner just go buy the proper ham for full price and cut that up into little pieces. Much easier than wrestling with the gristle. ;)

                                2. Bread--try casatiello (very rich, brioche like bread w/ salty meat and cheese). Peter Reinhart has a great recipe for it in Bread Bakers Apprentice.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Oh that reminds me, tis the season: Pizza Rustica aka Easter Pie.

                                  2. I often make a fairly healthy pasta dish with chopped prosciutto. I got the recipe off a weight watchers board years ago, and don't remember precise measurements any more, but it's always good, even without following an exact recipe.

                                    Boil water, start cooking a high fiber pasta. In the last couple minutes, add chopped asparagus to cook along with the pasta. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the starchy water.

                                    In the meantime, cut a whole mess of mushrooms into quarters, and saute them, the prosciutto, and a garlic in a little olive oil. You don't need much, maybe a teaspoon or two. The fat starts to render out of the prosciutto, so start with less olive oil than you think you might need.

                                    When the mushrooms are cooked through and the prosciutto is almost crisp, deglaze the pan with a little splash of white wine and some balsamic vinegar.

                                    Season with salt, pepper, and a little ground red pepper if you want some heat. Add the pasta and asparagus and reserved pasta water. Mix it all up and sprinkle with Parmesan.

                                    The way I make it, my bowl is about 50% vegetable. I forget the nutritional information on it at this point, but I do remember that it was quite good for a pasta dish, and it's really tasty!

                                    1. The beauty of prosciutto is that you can do anything with it. Bake it in bread. Mix in salad. Put on fresh fruit. Ham and eggs!