Friday, May 13, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Fried Prosciutto and Poached Egg – Never Say Never Cook Prosciutto

As many of you know, I often post these video recipes on YouTube well before I get around to writing the post, and this roasted asparagus with prosciutto and poached egg is no exception.

One advantage of this modus operandi is that the initial comments I get will often help shape the blog post's theme. This time the controversy revolved around the wisdom of cooking prosciutto. I knew this was going to come up, and even joked about it in the video (parental warning: I used the word, "ass").

Even though I acknowledged the fact that cooking prosciutto is very much frowned upon, and that this was done using scraps from the shank end of the ham, I still was viciously attacked.

First of all, there are exceptions to this no-cook rule, even in Italy. Saltimbocca is a classic dish that features veal cooked with prosciutto and sage, and I've seen more than one Italian chef use cooked prosciutto in things like frittatas and salads.

The opponents of cooking prosciutto point to these main issues: Prosciutto gets intensely salty when cooked, it smells less than appetizing, and it's basically a waste of good pork to eat it any other way than thinly sliced in its natural state.

I basically agree with all of that. Frying prosciutto isn’t a great smelling food, but the taste doesn't match this "wet pork" aroma, and is actually quite mild and pleasant to my palette. Besides, where are these people when broccoli is being cooked? That doesn't smell like freshly cut flowers either.

Yes, cooking prosciutto does make it salty, which is why I didn't use any salt in the dish. Anchovies are unbearably salty too, unless used properly. Finally, I LOVE traditional sliced prosciutto, and agree that's the best way to enjoy, but that doesn't make this wrong. I think fresh raw oysters are the best, but once in a while I want Oyster Rockefeller.

If you are skeptical, I encourage you to give this a try. I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy!

Note: I've already done a how to poach eggs video, but it's really old and crappy, and as I mention in the clip, I'll be redoing it soon, so stay tuned!

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz minced prosciutto (yes, you can use ham, bacon, or pancetta)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
lemon, juice and zest


Eric said...

Looks delicious Chef John but I'm a little surprised there is no Cyan Pepper. You have trained me well with the Cyan and I now expect it.

Carey said...

Didn't realize there was such controversy over cooking prosciutto! Yowza!

P.S. Still looking forward to that club sandwich post where you show us the cool new way to cut our sandwiches!

Have a wonderful weekend. :)

Emerald_Mara85 said...

My comment on the Next Food Post was gone so I'm reposting...

On Poached Eggs
I hope you have something for those who don't like the vinegar taste. Mine came out horrible...I think because the water was on boil.

New Part:
Saw the old video and...whoah you didn't even need to do a whirlpool and it still came out prettier than mine!

Lorenzo said...

In Italy, prosciutto is used on pizzas and other baked dishes quite often--it shouldn't be as "taboo" as it is in the States. Yes, it's a different ingredient cooked, but then again what else can replicate the salty and melty flavor of cooked prosciutto? Some wines are used for cooking, and others for drinking. Same applies to prosciutto.

Monica said...

Found your blog yesterday when looking for a way to cook angel hair pasta. I made your recipe last night from the recipe for broccoli and AH. It was wonderful. The recipe is a keeper.

I used roasted prosciutto sprinkled on a roasted brussels dish and it went soft, no-one ate it so next time I'll use bacon.

Angela Andersen said...

Obviously, you are a man after my own heart. I have seen so much asparagus on this blog, and that makes me OH so happy. Asparagus is my favorite vegetable, and wrapping it in prosciutto/ sprinkling it with prosciutto bits and poached egg sounds devilishly fantastic! :)

Lori-Vancouver BC said...

We have poached eggs every weekend, so when I saw the 'teaser' picture, I thought it was beautiful, a work of art. I would have never thought to have eggs and asparagus together. We love asparagus and I have guests right now and one of them doesn't eat wheat or gluten, so this would be a great breakfast for her.
Thanks so much, I will make this for sure!

cdcphoenix said...

Great dish Chef.
One of my all time favorite sides is fresh peas thrown into a hot pan with a Tbls of butter, a pinch of marjoram or basil, and a finely chopped slice of prosciutto, heated just long enough to blend all the flavors. I've done that for years, without knowing it was "wrong".
Like you and others are saying; one of the greatest things about being a cook is the creative aspect, which includes using ingredients as desired.
Also, I made your chicken trio recipe as chicken and dumplings for my book club the other night. Two full pots for nine people, and I barely had one serving left over for me the next day. It was fabulous. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

WOW. Immediately on my top five favorite dishes to make. Thanks, Chef John!!!
-Jesse from Detroit

Anonymous said...

I don't see the harm in cooked prosciutto.. I cook it all the time! On pizza's, in oil-based pasta sauces, even crumbled and sprinkled over things! Why not?!

Anonymous said...

Prosciutto anyway is delicious! My husband makes his own prosciutto and ages it almost 3 years. We love the scraps, ground and used in eggs so we'll definitely try this. Yum!!

Unknown said...

I know this is an old post but glad I stumbled across. We have been adding fried prosciutto to our list of pizza toppings for years, figured it was time to see if this is actually ok to do. I'm not the. Biggest fan of it unless fried slightly. Its like fancy bacon!! Adding it to our pizza tonight! Can't wait to try it with eggs, but I'd probably keep it whole.

Woelkchen said...

Hmmmm - just ate it...

I love Asparagus, Eggs, Bacon and wanted to try poached Eggs for a while (don't like Hollandaise...). So pefect recipe and it was delicious and veeeery simple and quick.
My egg was perfectly done, too ;-) but of course it must have been coincidence for my first-time-poached-egg...

rancholyn said...

Simply it..