Thursday, January 3, 2008

Winter Fruit and Prosciutto

I'm very fond of prosciutto e melone, a wonderful Italian appetizer that pairs sweet summer fruits with salty prosciutto ham but, unless I'm willing at this time of year to buy my fruit from the Southern Hemisphere, ripe fruit is hard to come by.

Until I was trundling my shopping cart down the aisles when I had the idea of combining seasonal citrus fruits with the prosciutto. They aren't precisely local, since it's rare to see grapefruit trees this far north, but at least the fruits are grown in California. So, I chose a couple of smooth, shiny, heavy pink grapefruits and brought them home with a package of prosciutto.

The sweet-tart pink grapefruit made an interesting foil for the white-streaked pink ham - the colors tone together and the tastes are nicely complimentary. Although not as piercingly sweet/salty as when I use cantaloupe or nectarines, we enjoyed the play of flavors and the seasonality of the dish. I plan to try the very sweet winter Clementine tangerines next.

9 Comments:

Blogger Peter M said...

Thank goodness proscuitto is good anytime of the year!

Thursday, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Dagny said...

Thanks for the idea because I don't really like melon.

Thursday, January 03, 2008  
Blogger BuzzB said...

I will hope there is proscuitto in the market today as we have a large collection of citrus at the ready in the kitchen!

MB

Thursday, January 03, 2008  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Buzzb: If you already have a large collection of citrus in the kitchen, I'll hold off on the bag of backyard navel oranges -- for now.
But we must do lunch soon.

Thursday, January 03, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

If you can make it to 16th and Mission, they have mangos and papayas in the two best stores on the street between Mission and Valencia. Yummy!

Welcome back from Hawaii! Your food posts looked good but I wouldn't skip my hoppin' john, cornbread and ham for anything.

Thursday, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Moonbear said...

A most beautiful plateful on a beautiful plate. Golly! I have never (ever) bought proscuitto.

Thursday, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Peter M, amen to that!

Dagny, I'm glad I could finally pay you back for all the good ideas you've given me!

BuzzB, we've run out of prosciutto - time to hit the store again!

Cookiecrumb, name the day - we'll be there with bells on to collect our orange allotment!

NamasteNancy, Hoppin' John is a new dish to me - I'll have to visit your blog for the recipe!

Moonbear, hope you enjoy your first taste!

Thursday, January 03, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Here's the best Hoppin John Recipe that I know about. It's Emeril and he's from New Orleans (as was my grandmother - well, she came from even further south). So, n how can you go wrong? You're supposed to have good luck for the year if you eat this but I suspect that may be just a superstition. (ahem...)

Hoppin’ John
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse. Serves 6-8

1 tblsp. olive oil
2 to 3 pork hocks (about 1 ½ lbs. total)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
½ c. carrots, chopped
½ c. celery, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tblsp. chopped garlic
5 to 6 cups water, chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 lb. black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
2 dried bay leaves
1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 bunch green onions, sliced
chopped parsley (optional)

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork hocks on all sides until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add 5 cups of water or broth. Return the pork hocks to the pot and add the black-eyed peas. If you need additional liquid to cover the peas, add more. Add the bay, thyme, cayenne and more pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes or until the peas are tender and creamy.

When the peas are nearly done, remove the pork hocks. Trim away the fat, cut out any chunks of meat and return them to the stew. Some pork hocks may not yield much meat, so you can skip this step if you wish. Taste for seasoning and serve with the green onions and parsley.

Friday, January 04, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Thanks, NamasteNancy! I'll give it a try next New Year's Day, although I have to admit it's hard to imagine how my luck could improve!

Saturday, January 05, 2008  

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