When Life Gives You Thick Prosciutto...
Instacart and shopper services have become a nearly unavoidable supplement to my ongoing life management. While I do enjoy food shopping... selecting my own produce, finding new things to try, and admittedly even dancing down the aisle with my earbuds turned up... I have found the time savings almost worth the laughably poor shopping results often delivered to my door.
I am a regular user of prosciutto. Too regular if you ask 4 out of 5 doctors, no doubt... but alas, let me eat parma! I was always a fan of Italian meats, but after a recent food and wine tour with Chef Anthony, The Italian Elixir, I have added just enough knowledge and enthusiasm that my prosciutto palate has now become a dangerously uninformed foodie on such matters.
With a scrunched nose, you can find me behind the meat counter at local Italian markets, asking them if they don't have 24 aged mos prosciutto? When they aren't able to provide fresh, aged prosciutto di parma, as I became an expert on during that one day at the factory along the tour, I apologetically let them off the hook for their own shortcoming, as they likely internalize their own snark at the assumption I just finished watching Under The Tuscan Sun or similar.
They aren't far off.
But whether, like me, you've become an expert in Italian ham after one food and wine tour, or if you've never even tried a proper piece of prosciutto, you will know that this is a meat intended to be sliced as thin as light paper. Most delis in the US do not seem to have blades sharp enough, nor staff trained properly to slice this fine meat as intended. I learned this immediately upon my return from said food and wine tour.
After landing back in the US, I journeyed out to the nearest local Italian market, and I confirmed they had a quality 24 mos aged prosciutto di parma. I ordered a lb of it, and they let me know it would take a while to slice. I took this as a good sign. I was incorrect. After spending nearly 15 minutes slicing the meat, the slices I received were about 1/8th of an inch thick, when they should be nearly translucent.
I hadn't attempted to order locally sliced prosciutto since, opting for the prepackaged options sold at the higher end markets. On a recent Instacard order, I had ordered the prepackaged meats, and the shopper decided to order the meats from the deli instead. Once again, I received a very costly slap of thickly sliced prosciutto, which can't be used for traditional purposes.
I was determined to find a great use for it, and I did!
Theydies and Gentlethems, I give you the Crisped Prosciutto, Persian Cucumber, Arugula, and Brie Sandwich. It's basically a BLT you can have a cocktail with. To render the thickly sliced prosciutto more flavorful, I recommend crisping it on a baking tin for about 10 minutes on 400. I like to use sourdough bread, but toast your favorite bread, spread a little butter and mayonaise, and then add sliced brie to the bottom side, placing the warmed prosciutto atop the brie to soften it. Pile the sliced baby cucumbers on the other side, followed by prosciutto and a dash of S&P, then close the sandwich, slice, and serve.
I look forward to many more happy accidents that lead to fun food pairings!