Archived entries for prosciutto

Grilled goat’s cheese with prosciutto and eucalyptus honey.

Dudes and darlings,

I’m moving on Saturday (which means my life is in complete and utter disarray), so I’m going to keep this one short.

prosciugoat

My kitchen is largely governed by its own holy trinity: tangy, salty, and sweet. I try to apply a balance of these sensations whenever possible, which is how I end up with things like honey soy salmon, or a sweet-spicy coconut and lime curry. There’s something about the unexpectedness of the combination that makes my taste buds sing, and something about the combination itself that lends itself to grilled cheese. Thus, this realization has been particularly helpful to me this month as I’ve scrabbled to come up with new and exciting combinations. Having the lodestar of salty/sweet/tangy has given me some excellent direction along the way; it certainly informed the latest concoction, grilled chevre with prosciutto and honey.

My ulterior motive in creating this sandwich was my desire to use some of the lovely eucalyptus honey I’d picked up during my last trip to California. Though I probably could have quite merrily used my garden-variety, honey-bear-type-honey, I wanted to add a little whiff of nostalgia to the proceedings, and was only marginally deterred by the fact that it had gone completely solid with crystallization (a tip: if your honey goes solid, just put it in a microwave-safe bowl and zap it for about 30 seconds). I knew from experience that this honey pairs beautifully with chevre, and that chevre does exciting textural things when heated, so they seemed a natural pairing.

cheese and honey

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Grilled Fontina with Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon

We’re still going strong with National Grilled Cheese Month—we still have some really good combinations for you. But I may have to swear off the stuff once we hit May. National Salad Month, anyone?

I thought I’d follow Shiv’s spin on an Italian-classic-turned-sandwich with one of my own: a grilled cheese stuffed with thinly sliced prosciutto and sweet cantaloupe.

It’s a combination that makes me think of sunshine, and eating outdoors, and melons so ripe they are fragrant before you cut them open, perfect with crisp glasses of Prosecco. It’s meant to transport you to a summer afternoon at an Italian villa where you sit grazing on antipasti, taking in the view. . .

Sounds better than making grilled cheese in my tiny apartment to eat on the couch while the April showers pour down outside, not that I’ve ever been to an Italian villa. But it’s on my to-do list.

Creamy Italian fontina cheese is the key to this sandwich. I added a little shaved parmesan as well, but I actually think that was too much, throwing the salty-sweet balance too far toward salt. Use plenty of fontina, and you’ll be pleased. Make sure the melon is good and ripe. A few slices wrapped in prosciutto won’t make your sandwich wet, and the sweetness is a perfect counterbalance to the richness of the cheese and the salty ham.

It’s just fresh enough to help us last until spring decides to be sunny.

Continue reading…

It’s fig week! Roasted figs with goat’s cheese and prosciutto.

Figs and I have a tempestuous relationship. When it’s on, it’s ON–I am a slave to the fig’s sticky sweetness and hidden depths, and there is nothing that can bar me from its dusky beauty. When it’s off, however, the love runs cold, and nary a thought is spared for my dear, figgy friend.

And usually that’s fine.

The problem with this strange and mercurial relationship is that far too often when the need descends, fresh figs are nowhere to be found (I blame my inattention; I wouldn’t be at my beck and call, either). It happened a few weeks ago, and took me until last Friday to finally source some of the elusive fruit, purchased from a shady vendor on 6th avenue and carefully shepherded through a long evening of whiskey-drinking (except for the part where a crazy dude on 1st avenue tried to trip me with his cane, causing me to lose a few to the east village gutters). It was a challenge, but somehow I managed to get them home and make the salty-sweet treat I’d been planning over the past week: Roasted figs with prosciutto, goat’s cheese, and honey.

Let me repeat that: roasted figs with prosciutto, goat’s cheese, and honey.

Oh, oh yes.

I’m sure you can understand why I pursued this dream despite the mocking absence of figs; I’m sure many of you can conjure, as I did, the glorious juxtaposition of the syrupy fruit; the creamy, tangy cheese; the salty, chewy prosciutto. You can almost see the honey dripping lasciviously over the top of the snowy peaks, almost smell the irresistible miasma…

…whew, got away from myself for a second there. But if nothing else, that supports my case: if something makes me write like a second-rate Harlequin scribe? It MUST be good.

Roasted figs with prosciutto

12 medium-sized figs, quartered at the top along half the length of the fruit
4 oz chevre
1/4 lb prosciutto, sliced thin
a few tablespoons honey
a few tablespoons balsamic reduction*

The true beauty of this recipe is its simplicity: stuff the figs with the cheese. wrap with prosciutto. drizzle with honey. bake at 400 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes. Drizzle with more honey and balsamic. Share them with a friend for a delicious dinner, or put them on a pretty plate with extra honey to serve as hors d’oeuvres. Or, eat them all yourself. With gusto. And a green salad.

*Balsamic reduction: pour a bottle of balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and boil it until it’s reduced by half or more–it will be sweet and decadent, and make everything look super gourmet.

Ta da!



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