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Open-Faced Prosciutto Panini

In Sandwiches, Panini & Burritos On June 10, 2011 1 Comment

When I come home from work on some summer nights the last thing I want to do is cook. I’m sure most of you will side with me on this one. As we walk through the door and kick off our shoes, we need something fast and satisfying. For me, panini seem to be the perfect choice – all you have to do is buy some rolls, fresh prosciutto and a few cheese slices. If you’ve got other favs, just pile them on. And, whatever you do, avoid that bread topper. With my open-faced panini, you’ll avoid the extra calories (it’s almost swimsuit season, remember?). “Mangia” and don’t feel guilty.

Prep time: 10 to 12 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

2 small zucchini, tips removed & discarded (this ingredient is optional)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 panini rolls, cut in half horizontally
12 slices Prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele Prosciutto (sliced thick enough to roll, as opposed to shaved)
8 slices Provolone cheese (mild or sharp)
2 roasted red or yellow bell peppers (ready made and sold in a jar), rinsed, pat dry and cut into ½-inch thick slices
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cut zucchini, lengthwise, into ¼-inch thick slices; set aside. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. With a basting brush dipped in olive oil, lightly grease the foil-lined sheet.

3. Arrange zucchini slices, side by side, on the sheet. Lightly drizzle each slice with olive oil.

4. Place sheet with zucchini on oven rack placed 6 inches away from oven’s overhead broiler grill.

5. Grill zucchini about 5 minutes per side, until the slices are golden brown. Remove sheet from oven and set aside.

6. Meanwhile, arrange the 4 panini half-rolls, cut side up, on a serving platter and lightly drizzle them with olive oil. Roll each prosciutto slice.

7. Place 3 slices on each panini half-roll, followed by 2 slices of cheese, 1 or 2 zucchini slices and a few bell pepper slices.

8. Drizzle a little oil, salt and pepper, to taste, on the bell pepper slices.

Serve immediately with your favorite red or white wine.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chianti (red) or Pinot Grigio (white).

Text and Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real

Parma Prosciutto, Melon & Apple Carpaccio

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods On September 18, 2010 0 Comments

For this classic antipasto, I wanted to be artistic and innovative in presenting Parma prosciutto and melon. I added apple “carpaccio” and a balsamic reduction. The balsamic “sauce” complements the sweet fruit and savory prosciutto. Buon Appetito!

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Serves: 4

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar (dark brown variety)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 to 4 ounces sliced Parma prosciutto
1 cantaloup melon (8 to 12 slices)
2 Heirloom or green apples (Granny Smith or Pippin variety)
Juice of 1 lemon

1. In a small saucepot, combine the vinegar and sugar.

2. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium-high heat until mixture is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer balsamic reduction to a small glass or porcelain bowl and set, uncovered, in freezer until cold enough to drizzle, about 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Check coolness by stirring with a spoon after 5 minutes and tasting (do not freeze). If reduction is still warm, leave in freezer an additional 5 minutes.

5. Alternatively, the balsamic reduction can be prepared and chilled in refrigerator a day ahead.

Meanwhile, prepare prosciutto and fruit –

1. From its narrow end, gently roll up each prosciutto slice until it forms a small log.

2. Arrange prosciutto logs at one end of a large serving platter and set aside.

3. Cut melon in half, lengthwise, and scoop out seeds and pulp.

4. Cut melon into 8 to 12 slices, remove rind and place next to prosciutto on platter. Set aside. Save remaining melon for future use.

5. Cut apples in half and then into fourths. Remove core from each fourth and then cut apples into thin slices.

6. Immediately sprinkle apple slices with the lemon juice – this avoids blackening.

7. Arrange apples decoratively on platter with prosciutto and melon.

8. Serve immediately – ask guests to help themselves to some prosciutto, melon and apples and to drizzle some balsamic sauce over apples.

Enjoy with bread and white wine.

Wine suggestion: Malvasia or Greco di Tufo (both are Italian whites).

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real