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What to do with prosciutto?

I picked up some prosciutto at Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Madisonville, Tenn.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/t-m...

Since you can only get it in Tennessee (they can't ship the prosciutto, presumably for heath code reasons) and being the glutton I am, I bought way too much.

The first servings were delicious, but I unfortunately am a salt wimp. I can still feel the salt burn on the roof of my mouth. Any suggestions on ways to tame this? Any produce/fruits in season in the Bay Area that might complement the pork?

(BTW I also had country ham for the first time--salty and funky, not for the faint of heart).

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  1. wrap a slice of prosciutto around a wedge of cantaloupe. Manna of the gods.

    drape it over potatoes, drizzle with cream, and bake until the potatoes are tender.

    wrap it around a whole endive, drizzle with cream, and bake (sprinkle with Swiss cheese for good measure)

    5 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      sunshine :) could you elaborate on those potatoes please? That sounds crazy good. TIA.

      1. re: c oliver

        there's no elaboration -- that's the whole recipe!

        Sliced potatoes, prosciutto, cream....basically an upgraded Dauphinois

          1. re: c oliver

            I usually tuck the prosciutto in between the potato slices, just so all the prosciutto doesn't end up crispy (a few slices is good, though!) -- and do mind the salt -- the prosciutto will salt the potatoes as they cook.

            1. re: sunshine842

              We're dry aging a whole boneless ribeye for 28 days and will have our first steak on 5/22. I'm thinking this might be just the rich side dish to go with that. Thanks, kiddo.

    2. Our favorite fruit with prosciutto is fresh pairs. Once you have a very aromatic La France or Bartlett pair with prosc, you will likely never go back to melon.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Tripeler

        We grill out prosciutto-wrapped pears - crispy pork, caramelized pears.

        1. re: Taralli

          WOW, never thought of that. Thanks for the idea!

      2. Real prosciutto is less salty than regular American ham. If this is saltier, it probably won't work very well to treat it like its Italian namesake.

        How about making a sandwich with unsalted butter?

        1. Omelets, or scrambled eggs. Quiche even.

          Or, dice up and use in fried rice.

          And if you enjoy oatmeal, blend it into oatmeal. Add a bit of brown sugar if you want to balance the salinity of the ham.

          1. Not sure it's the best use for premium prosciutto, but I like it on pizza, gets nice and crisp.

            4 Replies
            1. re: firecooked

              Agree! A favorite pie around here involves prosciutto, caramelized onions, gruyere, and a light pesto base instead of tomato sauce. Maybe a few capers for garnish.

                1. re: autumm

                  I agree on pizza. One of my favorites is caramelized onions, sauteed cremini mushrooms, fontina cheese and prosciutto - either no sauce or a small bit of pesto on the crust.

                  1. re: Springhaze2

                    Tonight I noticed a wealth of blue cheese and fig paste in the fridge. I foresee a flatbread of prosciutto, blue cheese and fig paste this week......

              1. wrap around asparagus stalks, and I'll second the melon wrap. I'd use it anyplace you'd use bacon. So maybe a PLT? Basil is in season now, so a riff on caprese, with mozzarella to absorb some salt. Or you could just give it to all your friends. :)

                1. Prosciutto roses make great garnishes!

                  Try searing watermelon and putting one on top. The salty depth of the prosciutto pairs well with the watermelon.

                  Here' s a soup I made recently with a rose as a garnish.

                   
                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Cynic2701

                    but then you have to unwrap a soup-soaked coil of prosciutto.....it's pretty, but not very practical -- eating the rose as-is WOULD most definitely be a salt bomb. There's a reason why prosciutto is sliced paper thin....

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Or you could view as a garnish and not eat it at all. You could also pick it apart and find that I had actually constructed it out of three smaller pieces.

                      Also, if you ever decide to try putting prosciutto in something hot, be careful if you want to keep the original texture, as it may cook from the heat. I prevented that in the above picture by keeping it out of the soup--placed on top of scallops.

                      1. re: Cynic2701

                        "not eat" and "prosciutto" don't belong in the same sentence.....

                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                          because prosciutto is sliced thing because that's the best way to "open up" the flavors.

                          It's not supposed to be eaten in a wad-- too chewy, too salty, too greasy.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            yes, I had the 'bright' idea once to use it as chunks in antipasti - big mistake, it wasn't bad, but would have been far better in smaller slices.

                            1. re: hill food

                              prosciutto rolled with provolone or swiss and then sliced into coins is a nice complement to a chef salad.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                and rolled around a pickled okra or baby corn...

                                1. re: hill food

                                  Now THAT sounds great! Balance that saltiness.

                    2. Is the ham sliced or did you buy a whole one? I like to make oven dried prosciutto chips by laying slices out on a lined baking sheet and put in the oven @ 350F for 15-20 minutes or until dehydrated like a potato chip. Drain on paper towels and they become addicting by themselves, with a dip or part of a antipasti tray.

                      If its a piece of ham that you have to slice yourself, you can blanch slices quickly in a skillet of boiling water for a few minutes which would remove some of the salt then you could proceed to prepare the meat in whatever way you want. This is how we handle salty country ham.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Cherylptw

                        I also do this (turning them into crispy strips). People go bonkers for them at parties.

                        1. re: cleobeach

                          Every time I make these, there are NO leftovers; they're addictive.

                          1. re: Cherylptw

                            The first time I made them was on a lark.

                            We were hosting thanksgiving and I hadn't planned apps. We had some time on our hands before people arrived. I had a good half pound in the fridge and crisped it up and arranged a plate of nuts, dried cranberries and the crisps. My husband's best friend nearly wept with pleasure after his first bite.

                            1. re: cleobeach

                              Most people are amazed that it's a simple ham slice oven dried into a "chip". No one who has ever eaten any that I made can stop at one.

                      2. This is something similar to Cherylptw's - make Prosciutto bits. Trim any obvious fat from the prosciutto, give the slices a spin in a mini-prep food processor, then cook in a non-stick skillet until crispy. Sprinkle over salad or add to scrambled eggs.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mcsheridan

                          Please tell me the trimmed fat is a bonus treat for the chef and not discarded? Please?

                          1. re: MGZ

                            If I'm eating prosciutto any other way, of course I eat the fat with it. You'll be shocked, but in this case, it's a goner - I don't eat it.

                            1. re: mcsheridan

                              <Sniff> Pardon me. . . . I think I need a moment.

                        2. Prosciutto, or any of dry cured hams from other countries, are excellent wrapped round, say, a piece of monkfish prior to baking. It protects the fish, adds seasoning and a crispy texture change.

                          Also similarly good when wrapped round asparagus prior to it going under the grill.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Harters

                            Monk tails wrapped in prosciutto or country ham is a favorite of Mrs. Z - a great dish. I was going to post that heating the ham will only concentrate the saltiness the OP is seeking to minimize, but this prep could be an exception. I would advise simply rinsing the slices before wrapping the flesh. The additional moisture of the fish should also help mitigate the salinity.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              i wrap proscuitto around scallops before searing in a ripping hot cast iron skillet. cod is also a nice foil for the saltiness.

                              1. re: wonderwoman

                                Cod is actually a much better suggestion for someone on the West Coast. Whole trout works as well with the wrapped and baked preparation.

                                I'm likewise a fan of the seared, wrapped scallops. That works with medallions of monkfish or lobster tails as well. My reservation for the instant inquiry is that introducing dry heat to the ham is going to intensify its saltiness. Same thing happens on a baking sheet or grill. Reducing the perception of salinity requires the addition of moisture not a reduction of it. Baking the scallops might be a solution for the OP though.

                            2. One of my favorite sandwiches is prosciutto, goat cheese, roasted sweet peppers, and basil on a baguette with a swipe of olive oil.

                              1. Salty ham, fresh figs and a creamy cheese always a good mix.

                                1. Make a hoagie (hero, sub) using other Italian ingredients like aged provolone, roasted red bell peppers, olive oil and crushed dried Italian seasonings. The bread should be a good length with a nice crust.

                                  Also, roll individual slices of the prosciutto and eat them without any other comestible to get the full flavor of it.

                                  Buon appetito!

                                  1. Wrap around fresh figs, stuff the center with some goat cheese and grill.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: treb

                                      Dates are also good like this. Mmm sweet and salty!

                                    2. I like to fillet and pound out a pork tenderloin, line with prosciutto, goat cheese and slices of roasted red pepper. Roll and tie(or toothpick it) to roast in the oven. It is easy, healthy, and slices up into a beautiful piece of meat. A quick buttery pan sauce is nice with it too.

                                      I also recently made a nice, simple, pasta salad with gemelli, prosciutto, roasted grape tomato, and basil, dressed with a vinaigrette and some shaved parm. Served at room temp.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: sedimental

                                        Garlic, prunes (or dried apricots) and the ham go well in this preparation as well.

                                        1. re: Harters

                                          I have an unopened package of sliced prosciutto in the fridge with a sell by date of march something. Is it ok?

                                          1. re: smilingal

                                            Yes, absolutely! Sell-by does not equal consume-by. I would go months beyond that without hesitation if I somehow lost it in the drawer. Dates are there because they have to put something. It's a cured meat, it's fine. Enjoy!

                                      2. if one needs to ask what to do then one is unworthy (hint - toss it slivered into a raunchy version of puttanesca)

                                        smilingal - if your question is serious, it will be ok 2 years from now.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: hill food

                                          Gosh yes. My dad would leave it on the counter for weeks. It didn't harm him but I wouldn't recommend it. In the fridge, I would have no problem going past the date by two of three months.

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            Hill - unworthy? Raunchy?
                                            I've heard worse...albeit not directed toward me...but yes,
                                            my question was innocent ignorance!

                                            1. re: smilingal

                                              it was just a joke as Pasta Puttanesca was associated with an easy meal consumed by prostitutes in Rome between 'engagements' (and it is easy and delicious) hence the idea of 'tricking' it further.

                                              the unworthy part - heck there are few savory dishes that would be hurt by at least a bit of prosciutte.

                                              and yes it lasts forever, well opened maybe just a year or so, just gets dry and crusty at some point when exposed to air.

                                          2. Similar to another post...a version of Tocino ala Bolognese.
                                            Half boneless, skinless chicken breast pounded flat. One piece prosciutto on top, a slice of fontina or asiago next, and the a leaf or two of fresh sage, s and p. Roll and place in a baking dish. Pour some nice white wine over and bake at 350 degrees until done. I do a whole pan of these and then slice on salads or in sandwiches...yum. I have also grilled them with good results (when I did not have good white wine around).

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jill kibler

                                              god that sounds good, someday you may find a middle-aged guy on your kitchen floor in front of an open fridge, it's what I have in common with raccoons and bears.

                                            2. Use it in Salmorejo, a really good cold tomato soup from southern Spain

                                              1. Place a few slices of Prosciutto in a non stick pan over med high heat. Cook it until it just starts to carmelize on both sides. Break a couple of fresh eggs over the prosciutto and cook to your liking.
                                                Simple, tasty. Add a side of fresh fruit to offset the saltiness of the Prosciutto