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Archive for September 11, 2015

RECIPE: Prosciutto-Cucumber Roulade Appetizer

Parma ham, also known as prosciutto, is an easy ingredient for appetizers and first courses, paired with anything from melon to salads.

This recipe from Italian chef Nicola Batavia, of Birichin in Turin, has eye appeal, crunch and, the palate-pleasing prosciutto and gin!

Serve it as a first course; or instead of the salad course after the main course, with a wedge of blue cheese.

If you don’t like cucumber, you can substitute fennel.

While the recipe is simple, the cucumber needs to be prepared a day in advance.

RECIPE: PROSCIUTTO-CUCUMBER ROULADES

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3-1/2 ounces sliced Parma ham
  •    

    Parma Ham Appetizer

    Adults only: the cucumbers are marinated in gin! Photo courtesy ParmaCrown.com.

     
  • 1 cucumber, ideally English or other seedless/low seed variety
  • Sea salt
  • Gin
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: unbuttered popcorn (cute, but we substituted cubes of blue cheese)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WASH the cucumber and cut it into strips. Put the strips in a container, cover with cold water and salt and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

    2. DRAIN the cucumber and immerse in gin for 2 hours.

    3. DRAIN again and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Wrap small bunches of strips into slices of Parma ham.

    4. SERVE the roulades on a plate with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and optional garnish.

     
    Find more Parma ham recipes at ParmaCrown.com.

     

    Prosciutto Platter

    A plate of prosciutto with traditional complements: melon, olives, cheese, pimento. Photo courtesy ParmaHam.com.

     

    PROSCIUTTO & SERRANO HAMS: THE DIFFERENCES

    Both prosciutto (Parma ham) and Serrano hams are dry-cured: salted and hung in sheds to cure in the air. Both are served in very thin slices. (Country ham, preferred in the U.S., is smoked, and a very different style from dry-cured hams.)

    While prosciutto and Serrano hams can be used interchangeably, they are different. Prosciutto is considered more salty and fatty. Serrano is considered more flavorful and less fatty. But that’s just the beginning.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, is cured for 10-12 months with a coating of lard.
  • Serrano, from Spain, can be cured for up to 18 months (and at the high end, for 24 months). The differing times and microclimates affect the amount of wind that dries the hams, and thus the character of the final products.
  •  
    They are also made from different breeds of pigs:

  • Prosciutto can be made from pig or wild boar, whereas Serrano is typically made from a breed of white pig.
  • The diet of the pigs differs. Parma pigs eat the local chestnuts, and are also fed the whey by-product of Parmigiano-Reggiano, made in the same area of Parma, Italy.
  • A final difference:

  • Italian-made prosciutto is never made with nitrates. American made prosciutto, as well as both domestic and Spanish Serrano-style hams, can have added nitrates.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HAM.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Save The Lobster Heads & Tails

    We love this idea from Chef Ric Tramonto and John Folse of Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans.

    Rather than toss the lobster heads and tails*, they plated them. It’s beautiful, and the most fun we’ve seen since Chef David Burke’s Angry Lobster On A Bed Of Nails.

    This photo shows Restaurant R’evolution’s Lobster With Sheep’s Milk Gnocchi. We made Lobster Newburg, one of our favorite special-occasion dishes (in a cream sauce with sherry, brandy and a touch of nutmeg—here’s the Lobster Newburg recipe).

    But there’s much more to place between the heads and tails. Just a few ideas:

  • Fettuccine Alfredo or other pasta with lobster
  • Lobster & Chorizo Paella
  • Lobster Cobb Salad
  • Lobster & Coconut Milk (such as Lobster Curry and Lobster Roatan)
  • Lobster Mac & Cheese
  • Lobster Pot Pie
  • Lobster Ravioli
  • Lobster Risotto
  • Lobster Salad
  • Lobster Stew
  • Lobster Thermidor
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    lobster-head-tail-restaurantrevolutionNOLA-230b

    Now that’s a presentation! Photo courtesy Restaurant R’evolution | New Orleans.

     

    You can even put the head and tail on a lobster roll, or have them adorn a bowl of lobster chowder or lobster dip.

    Just set the head and tail flat on the plate. And keep recycling: At the end of the meal, you can wash the heads and tails and stick them in the freezer. How else can you use them?

     
    *After the meat has been removed for the recipe, of course.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/trio lobsterfrommaineFB 230r

    Can’t wait to dig in? We’re ready to eat both! Photo courtesy LobsterFromMaine.com.†

     

    NEW SHELL LOBSTER: THE BEST LOBSTER YOU CAN HAVE

    Between June and November, lobsters in the cold, clean waters of Maine shed their old shells and grow new shells. The result is known as Maine New Shell Lobster, also called soft shell lobster. It’s the sweetest, most tender lobster meat.

    The superior taste and texture is a result of the pure Gulf of Maine seawater that fills the newly formed shell. It naturally “marinates” the meat, creating a more intense lobster flavor and added moisture.

    A thinner shell also means that you can crack and eat the lobster by hand—no nutcracker necessary.

    New Shells are prized by locals as a seasonal delicacy. But they are the best-kept secret in seafood. Even professional chefs don’t know about them, and both hard shell lobsters and New Shells are available in Maine throughout summer and fall.

    Now that you’re in the know, now that you have to ask for your New Shells by name.

     

    Like all Maine Lobsters, New Shells are caught the old-fashioned way: by hand, without modern technology, one trap at a time. Because the soft shells are fragile, New Shells don’t travel as well as their hard shell counterparts.

    But thanks to advances in packaging and handling techniques, Maine New Shell Lobster, once only available in Maine, can also be shipped to you. Check Bayley’s Lobster Pound.
     
    MAINE LOBSTER VERSUS CANADIAN LOBSTER

    We recently attended an event to taste the New Shells, and met several chefs and lobstermen. We asked if they find a difference between Maine lobsters and the Canadian lobsters caught farther north in the Atlantic.

    Their consensus is that, since the waters off of Maine are fed by the Labrador current which also flows past New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the lobsters are very similar.

    They opined that local differences such as diet, water temperature and water quality—which easily cause differences in oysters—are not significant.

    So buy American, but if someone offers you a Canadian lobster, eat it!

     
    †We disclose that these are Maine lobsters, but not New Shell lobsters. The available photos of New Shells were too plain.

      

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