Parma Ham is an ingredient recognised all over the world and a very popular addition to an antipasto. Often wrapped around a grissini it's seen as the signature accompaniment to melon. Many classic Italian dishes use the 2 year aged meat in pasta sauces, wrapped around meat or fish or as a pizza topping – but have you ever thought of using it in a dessert?
I attended the Underground Cookery School in Central London for a Parma Ham Master Class hosted by the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma
and under the watchful eye of head chef Carlos Toban.
The selection of canapés immediately demonstrated the breadth at which Prosciutto can be used in cooking; from on its own with olive oil & cracked black pepper to wrapped around pear or with Parmigiano Reggiano crisps to a Parma Ham tortilla (my favourite).
To begin with we made the pasta that would be used for the Tagliatelle with White Truffle Dressing, topped with twirls of freshly sliced Parma Ham and Parmigiano Reggiano – a classic combination of cheese and ham from the same region (Emilia Romagna).
This was followed by some basic butchery of a chicken where the breasts were removed and butterflied in order to create chicken wrapped in Parma Ham, stuffed with a Tarragon and Cream Cheese filling on top of a bed of New Potatoes, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Spring Onion.
Finally we prepared the dessert, a Meringue Roulade with a difference. It is not often you have meat in all 3 courses and this is certainly something I would not object too! Candied Parma Ham slices accompanied the Roulade. Hard to imagine, but it worked perfectly.
As a group we likened this to salted caramel in a dessert but it had a much longer flavour that remained although was never overpowering and accompanied the Roulade beautifully. It was certainly a very interesting and unexpected contrast to how you would expect to cook and eat Parma Ham.
Why not try the Meringue Roulade with slices of Candied Parma Ham yourself; here is the recipe:
Meringue Roulade with Candied Parma Ham
6 slices of Parma Ham
6 egg whites
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
170ml double cream
250g strawberries, hulled and halved
1 baking tin (335mm x 235mm) an inch high greased with butter and dusted with sugar
1 sheet of greaseproof paper (350mm x 235mm) lightly buttered and covered with caster sugar
1. Lay the Parma Ham on a baking sheet and cover with the sugar. Bake at 100C for 25 minutes; set aside. When cooled break into shards
2. Now make the meringue. Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk to soft peaks. Now add the vanilla essence and lemon juice and then caster sugar and continue to whisk until the whites stiffen
3. Using a pallet knife or a flat edge, smooth the whites into the prepped tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 140C for 12 minutes or until cooked. Take out of the oven and set aside for a few minutes
4. Whip the double cream
5. Turn the meringue onto the greaseproof paper and cover the top with the whipped cream. Sprinkle the Candid Parma Ham and using the greaseproof paper roll into a roulade. Place in the fridge and when ready to serve, roll off the greaseproof paper and cut into portions. We usually give two slices per person.
Inspired? For more delicious Italian recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.