Monday, April 4, 2011

prosciutto san daniele

I decided not to make my own prosciutto San Daniele.

For a lot of reasons, really. First of all, it takes like two years. Who has that kind of time? In two years, I hope to have someone cooking through MY cookbook. OK, so, not really, but it's a long time.

Second, there is probably some specific kind of pig required. One that has a purple halo around its right ear in fall, or shoots glitter out of its tail. I could probably get a decent pig leg, but who knows?

Third, I'm not in Friuli, and that's where they make San Daniele. Location, location, location. What are those pigs eating? And I don't have an old barn to hang a pig leg in just they right atmospheric conditions. I read one time that Mario had imported a barrel of Friulian dirt and put it in a basement where he was making sausage. The thinking was, according to the story, having the northern Italian dirt would season the air.

I have no idea how that worked out.

But for my purposes, I just went down to Mazzaro's and asked for a half-pound of it, then made my way home.
The recipe also calls for winesap apples. Never seen them before. I thought it might be because I never looked. So I looked, but still didn't find any. Apparently they grow in Virginia and have a fairly short season in fall. Purple halos and sparkles may be involved. So there's a good chance I have never seen them. The research I did suggested that they were sweet and tart with a slight hint of wine flavor. Thus the name, I guess. So I took equal parts Granny Smith (tart) and Fuji (my favorite, and sweet), and sliced them and, since the recipe called for the apples to be cooked anyway, I cooked them in a little wine. That resulted in apples that tasted a lot like what I read winesap's should taste like.

I was also supposed to find black mustard seeds for this. After going to every store I know that might sell mustard seeds of any ethnicity, I could find none. So I went to the Internet and found that black mustard seeds and brown mustard seeds may very well be the same thing. Every store I went to had brown mustard seeds. So I got them at the store that I happened to be in when I discovered that they were both the same thing. Also, gas costs like $3.50 a gallon. Just seemed a relevant time to mention that.

I made this to be the passed appetizer at a dinner party for 10. I made the marmellata. Which is cooking down apples a little, then adding dry mustard and mustard seeds. My instinct told me to peel the apples, but the recipe did not tell me to. So I didn't. I sort of wish I had, because the mixture was really nice and I thought the peels detracted from the texture a little. Shrug.

It doesn't look pretty, but it was delicious. Sweet and hot.

Other than that, all that was left was toasting bread and assembly. I say "toasting bread" like its easy, but the truth is, around here it's sort of a feat. We toast under the broiler, and the broiler in our oven is kind of schitzo. Its the only oven I've ever seen that won't let you broil with the door open. And when I broil with the door closed, fire often ensues. But we survived.

The recipe describes a plated presentation, but the photo in the book makes it look sort of like a bruschetta thing, and that fit my plan better, so we did that. Spread a little apple-mustard on the toast, top with a slice of ham and some spinach, and you are declared a genius.

Up next: goat cheese truffles

1 comment:

Ted McLaren said...

For your next one on goat cheese... Lara & I met a goat farmer down in the Redland area who makes cheese and ice cream. Here's his info: Hani's Organics, There may be a more local option too, but Hani's came to mind.