Prosciutto: most people have at least a vague idea of what it is. It’s something like ham, isn’t it? Wrap a paper-thin slice around a wedge of cantaloupe, secure it with a toothpick and you’ve got instant hors d’oeuvres. Unfortunately, the pre-sliced, pre-packaged prosciutto of questionable quality that is found in almost every grocery store these days may be enough to put anybody off the stuff for good.
Real prosciutto of excellent quality is not hard to find – or to make yourself, for that matter. But for most of us, it’s probably far easier to buy the good stuff than it is to make it. (If you DO want to make it at home, you can pick up any number of excellent books on charcuterie or do a quick internet search for more information.)
So just what is prosciutto?
Generally speaking, prosciutto usually IS a type of cured ham; in other words, pork, preserved by salting, drying and curing, which may age for months or even years before it’s ready to eat. Pork, however, is not the only kind of meat that can be cured by this method.
Duck prosciutto is one of the more popular variations of prosciutto. A special process of curing and drying the meaty breast of hand-selected ducks produces a versatile ham-like product which remarkably resembles the finest prosciutto – without pork! When sliced very thinly, duck prosciutto can be enjoyed in the same way as “regular” pork prosciutto – but with a special flavor and character all its own.
Here are 5 delicious ways to experience the remarkable flavor and texture of duck prosciutto. Enjoy!
Wild Mushroom Crepes with Duck Prosciutto, Sour Cream & Chutney
Crepes are an ideal canvas for featuring delicately flavored wild mushrooms, such as Chanterelles, Hen of the Woods (Maitake) or Hedgehogs These delicious savory crepes also make an excellent base for any variety of other toppings.
- 4 oz Duck Prosciutto, thinly sliced and cut into julienne strips
- 8 oz sour cream, Greek-style yogurt or crème fraîche
- Spirited Cherry Chutney (or other chutney of your choice)
- Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
For the Crepes:
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 9 oz fresh wild mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large pan, add the chopped mushrooms and sauté over medium heat, allowing the mushrooms to soften and the moisture to evaporate. Spread onto a tray and cool.
To make the batter, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl, stirring with a whisk to incorporate. Beat the eggs into the milk and add to the flour mixture, stirring to make a thick batter. Add the chopped mushrooms and green onions.
Heat the remaining 2 Tbsps butter in the pan, then spoon the batter into 2 inch, thin circles onto the pan. When bubbles appear on the surface, turn the crepes over and cook for another 20-30 seconds.
Remove to a sheet pan and allow to cool briefly. The crepes may be stacked once cool.
Arrange the crepes on a serving platter or tray. Top with a spoonful of sour cream, then add a few strips of duck prosciutto and, lastly, a little chutney and a sprig of fresh herbs, if desired.
Goat Cheese-stuffed Dates with Duck Prosciutto
Creamy, tangy goat cheese is a perfect for the sweetness of dried dates & wildflower honey. Add the intense savory flavor of rich duck prosciutto and nutty pecans and you’ve got the ideal appetizer for any occasion. Open a bottle of sparkling wine when you pass these delicious morsels at your next part party and watch your guests’ eyes light up!
- 3 oz goat cheese, softened
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- 3 Tbsp honey, divided
- 16 pitted dates
- Duck Prosciutto, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, cream together goat cheese and salt. Fold in half of the chopped pecans and 1 tablespoon of the honey.
Slice an opening in one side of the pitted dates.
Using a spoon or a pastry bag, fill each date with the goat cheese/pecan mixture. Top with a slice of duck proscuitto and drizzle with a little of the honey. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped pecans. Serve immediately or refrigerate until later.
Marinated Green Olives with Duck Prosciutto
What is more Spanish than the olive? This delightfully simple appetizer is very reminiscent of Spanish-style tapas, small bite-sized portions of savory foods, usually eaten along with a glass of wine. If you purchase good quality olives which have already been marinated, half the work is already done. If you’ve been extra ambitious, you can use your own Cured Green Olives. But no matter how you prepare the olives, the end result will be wonderful.
- 4 oz very thinly sliced Duck Prosciutto
- Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- Peel of half a lemon, cut into thin strips
- 10 oz large cracked green olives
Heat the olive oil, garlic, herbs and lemon peel in a medium pan over low heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the olives, stir to coat and continue to heat for another 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Place in a jar, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least a day.
Take the olives from the refrigerator an hour or two before serving and allow to come to room temperature. Drain the olives, place them on a serving plate, and drape with a thin slice of duck prosciutto. Finish with a drizzle of the olive oil marinade and a sprig of fresh herbs.
Chive Mini Biscuits with Duck Prosciutto
Country ham with biscuits is part of a traditional holiday meal in many parts of the US. Why not add an extra special touch by using these easy-to-make ahead mini biscuits with a slice of deliciously chewy duck prosciutto? The resulting flavors are just so darn good that you’ll want to make this a regular part of your holiday tradition.
- 4 oz Duck Prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus additional for brushing
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh chives
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together into a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, “cut in” the butter until it’s the size of a grain of rice. Do not cut the butter too finely.
Add the sliced chives and gently stir in just enough buttermilk to make the dry ingredients adhere into a soft ball of dough. Do not mix any more than absolutely necessary. Don’t worry if the dough is not completely homogeneous – the kneading with take care of any lumps.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Dust your hands with flour and gently fold the dough on itself just until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add a little flour to the kneading surface as you go if the dough is too sticky. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Using a rolling pin well-dusted with flour, roll out the dough until about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the biscuits with a small biscuit cutter or 2 inch diameter tin can with both ends cut out. Do not use a glass or jar to cut the biscuits. It’s important to make sharp, clean cut if you want your biscuits to raise high and flaky and a glass will pinch the edges of the biscuits together.
When you have cut all the biscuits you can from the sheet of dough, gently knead the leftover portion back together into a mass. Again, roll the dough 3/4 inch thick and cut the remaining biscuits.
Lightly grease a baking sheet and arrange the cut biscuits spaced evenly on it, about 2 inches apart.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Brush the tops of the raw biscuits with a little melted butter, if desired.
Place the biscuits into the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and split, placing a thin slice of duck prosciutto in the middle of each biscuit. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 15 2-inch diameter biscuits
Duck Prosciutto Butter
- 4 oz unsalted butter (one stick), at room temperature
- 2 oz Duck Prosciutto, chopped
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Sea salt, to taste
- 2 -3 drops Black Truffle Oil (optional)
Place the unsalted butter, duck prosciutto, a pinch of coarsely ground black pepper, smoked paprika and a few drops of black truffle oil, if using, into a food processor and pulse until well incorporated. Taste and add a little sea salt if desired.
This butter may be prepared in advance and held for up to a week in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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