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Tag: prosciutto di Parma

Ramp and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish with Spring Peas

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

I didn’t have many cookbooks when I was younger, I learned all about cooking from my mother. She’s my mama bird in the kitchen, I just watch and follow her. Then, in my late teens, she gave me my first cookbook, a detailed introduction to the most important basic techniques covering everything from eggs to soups, meat, seafood, and vegetables. It felt like she wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t starve when I moved out. The book was published in the 80’s and beautifully photographed. Quite minimal. I think, in regards to food photography, this book influenced my style of capturing food in pictures more than any other publications.

It was my only cookbook for a long time, but I collected and wrote down recipes myself whenever I got the chance to sneak a kitchen classic from a friend or my family. Even in restaurants, I was never shy to ask, if they’d share a recipe with me (the ones that really hit me). This strategy led to a bursting folder packed with notes, snippets, and sheets torn out of magazines. I still haven’t cooked and baked all of the treasures collected in more than 30 years. It’s a steadily growing project.

As I got into collecting cookbooks, Jamie Oliver’s books were one of the first added to the shelves. First as a present from friends, but later on I bought a few myself. I liked his style of playing with food. I was in my early twenties, I had seen and tasted many German, French, and Italian traditional classics cooked to perfection, by my mother and in friend’s kitchens, or at restaurants. But I felt like a younger voice. And Jamie’s voice felt just right at that time. In the end, I might have only cooked about 15 of his creations in all those years, but he inspired me a lot. And at least 5 of his recipes became staples that I still embrace today.

There’s one recipe that I’ve been wanting to try for more than 15 years. And again, I didn’t use it to follow, but to play with: Jamie wraps monkfish filets in prosciutto spread with pesto. It’s so simple, it looks stunning. As spring is in the air, or at least the smell of ramps as you enter the woods, I decided to wrap my firm white fish fillet in ramp leaves and prosciutto di Parma. Thanks to Jamie, the cooking time and temperature were perfect. The fillet was tender yet firm. And the wrapping was spot on: green, fresh, and slightly salty.

If you’re still looking for an Easter menu, what about skipping the traditional lamb roast and go for seafood? This dish is so easy, serve it with a bowl of lemony ramp peas and baguette (for the lazy ones like me) or Mediterranean mashed potatoes (either from my book, or try this recipe). And what about an eggnog sponge cake for dessert?

Have a wonderful Easter time with your loved ones!

xx

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

 

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

Ramp and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

Serves 2

olive oil
monkfish fillet, a thick center piece, 250-300g / 9-11 ounces
fine sea salt
ground pepper
prosciutto di Parma (or San Daniele or Serrano) 10 very thin slices
fresh ramps leaves, a small bunch
peas, fresh in shells (about 400g / 15 ounces) and peeled, or frozen (170g / 6 ounces)
freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting) and brush the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil.

Cut the monkfish in half (lengthwise) and, using your hands, coat it in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

On a large chopping board, spread out half the prosciutto (overlapping slices). Arrange a layer of ramp leaves on top (laying across the prosciutto), then lay one half of the monkfish on top (see 5th picture). Roll and wrap the fish tightly and transfer to the oiled baking dish. Prepare the second fillet the same way and lay next to the first fish wrap. Brush the prosciutto with olive oil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the fish is tender.

While the fish is baking, prepare the peas: Cut 12 ramps leaves into thin strips, set aside. Cook the peas in plenty of salted boiling water for 1 minute or until al dente. Drain and briefly rinse with cold water. In a small saucepan, heat a splash of olive over high heat, add half the chopped ramps, and take the pan off the heat. Stir in the peas and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the fish is done, using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the fillets into thick slices and divide between 2 plates. Serve with the peas sprinkled with the remaining chopped ramps, crunchy baguette, and chilled white wine.

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

 

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

 

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

 

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

 

Ramps and Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

The lack of time can be as fruitful as frugality. My mind tends to work quicker – and come up with surprisingly good ideas – when I don’t have time and ingredients in abundance. It makes me creative. My boyfriend often asks me what we should cook for dinner in the early afternoon. In the past, I would have just gone to the grocery store if I hadn’t made up my mind yet, I would have looked at the fresh produce and gone back to my kitchen to start cooking. But that’s not possible at the moment, I’m lucky if I manage to do my beloved grocery shopping once or twice a week. Time is a gift that I never treasured as highly as I do right now.

But I don’t want to complain, it’s a different kind of cooking, but nonetheless inspiring and still very satisfying. Like these little golden bites of Belgian endive (chicory), sautéed for just a couple minutes until golden and then wrapped in a thin layer of prosciutto di Parma. It was delicious! In my pre-cookbook life I would have made a side out of it and not given it my full attention, or at least bought a fresh loaf of ciabatta to dip into the juices in the pan. But no, a few slices of my leftover spelt bread where just as good and the simplicity of this meal caressed my taste buds.

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

 

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

Serves 2

olive oil
medium Belgian endive, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise, 2
fine sea salt
prosciutto di Parma 4 thin slices
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

In a small, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over high heat and sauté the endives for 1-1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and still al dente. Season lightly with salt and take the pan off the heat.

On a large plate, spread the prosciutto di Parma and wrap each half of Belgian endive tightly in one slice of prosciutto. Put the pan back on the heat and cook the wrapped endives for 1 minute on each side or until the prosciutto is golden but still soft. Divide between plates and sprinkle with crushed pepper.

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

 

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

 

balbianendiveparma7

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