There just isn’t a better day than the first day of summer to launch a series of blog posts about food on sticks. The sun is shining, the beer is cold and these BBQ spreads are intended to be enjoyed with our bare, sweaty, hands. Fork, spoon, it’s been swell but I’m chowing down gorilla-style until September.
Today’s focus: Prosciutto
Prosciutto is a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked. Prosciutto is made from either a pig’s or a wild boar’s ham (hind leg or thigh). The process of making prosciutto (drying and/or curing the meat) can take anywhere from nine months to two years, depending on the size of the ham. Sure, you can purchase pre-packaged prosciutto from the refrigerated meat counter of your local grocer but it will be tough and rubbery. Freshly thin sliced thin prosciutto from a reliable butcher is remarkable and worth every penny.
I LOVE working with prosciutto to impress a crowd with appetizers. The salty, meaty taste and chewy texture pairs well with sweet and juicy OR bitter and crunchy OR fresh and spicy. If you have a crowd of bacon fans coming to your BBQ, serve them food on sticks and be sure to wrap it in prosciutto. Two technique I used last weekend are:
Prosciutto Salad Sticks
Brett and I enjoyed a few of these at a recent baby christening after party and I couldn’t resist trying myself. My only recommendation is finding the long, thin bread sticks to keep the meat:arugula:bread stick ratio even.
This is super simple:
- Lay prosciutto slice flat
- Sprinkle a small handful of fresh (washed) arugula on top
- Place the bread stick on top of the arugula
- Roll it up tight, tucking the lettuce into the cured meat
The cured meat will stick to itself enough to allow you to stack them.
Prosciutto Melon Balls
Pull these BBQ gems from the fridge right before you serve them. The melon is cool and crisp but the salty, meaty wrap quickly comes to room temperature melting on your tongue against the crunch of the cold melon. These two flavours and textures work SO WELL together – especially for the summer season.
- Treat yourself to a melon baller. A qood quality one will cost just a few dollars and it’s just one of those utensils you praise every 6 months or so when you actually pull it from a drawer.
- Half your melon. I’ve used honeydew here, with the mild, cucumber-like flavour but go crazy with a cantaloupe or other type of melon if you wish. Ball it,slice it, remove the outer rind and free the fruit meat however you please.
- Wrap it in prosciutto and poke it with a toothpick.
Another favourite appetizer recipe of mine is a goat cheese and almond stuffed date wrapped in prosciutto. A very simple process that gives the illusion of gourmet craftsmanship. I’ll have to make and photograph for you soon. You’ll love it!
The summer has just begun, be sure to check back often for more ‘food on sticks’ recipes. I’m not planning on touching another utensil until the first set of leaves start to change colours.Add to favorites