5 Parma ham canapés for the holidays

5 Parma Ham canapés for the holidays

by Great British Chefs 17 December 2020

Whether you’re entertaining or not this Christmas and New Year, nothing marks a special occasion like a selection of homemade canapés to snack on with a glass of something to go alongside. Take a look at these five bite-sized ideas which showcase Parma Ham at its best.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

With lockdowns and restrictions putting an end to Christmas parties and extended family gatherings for 2020, cooking for a crowd is something many of us won’t be having to tackle this year. But canapés are just as enjoyable when there are only a handful of people to taste them – after all, nothing marks an occasion quite like some delicate little bites to enjoy with a drink, and less mouths to feed means more canapés to enjoy! Amp up the festivities after a tough year by taking the time to prepare some of these delicious morsels – trust us, you’ll be glad you did.

All these canapés feature Parma Ham, one of the easiest, simplest ways to add a touch of luxury and a deep, savoury and slightly sweet flavour to whatever you're cooking. The melt-in-the-mouth texture and complex taste comes from a minimum ageing time of one year. It's a very special, authentic product that's 100% natural – perfect for serving around Christmas and New Year.

Polenta, Parma Ham and cep canapés

Polenta is a woefully underused ingredient in the UK, but it’s a fantastic thing to prepare when you want a flavourful base to put other ingredients on. Here, the polenta is flavoured with Parmesan before being fried until crisp, before being topped with a mixture of Parma Ham, fried garlicky cep mushrooms and a little lemon and chilli. The rustic flavours all come together to create an earthy, warming, deeply savoury bite.

Savoury cannoli with Parma Ham mousse

Cannoli are Sicily’s most famous dessert, often filled with cream, chocolate and nuts, but here the idea is given a savoury twist. Parma Ham is blitzed into ricotta to create a silky mousse, which is piped into crisp cannoli shells and decorated with chopped capers. Incredibly moreish, delightfully crisp and seriously flavourful.

Crostini with rocket, buffalo Stracciatella, Parma Ham and pine nuts

Crostini come topped with all sorts of delicious things in Italy, but this combination of Parma Ham, pine nuts, Stracciatella and rocket is one of the tastiest we’ve come across. Taking literally minutes to prepare – all you need to do is toast the bread – they’re perfect for last-minute snacking and a perfect example of how top-quality Italian ingredients can create something truly delicious without any effort.

Parma Ham parcels with asparagus and peas

You often see Parma Ham wrapped around meat and fish, but here it’s used to completely encase a light, fresh filling of peas, vegetables and cheese, tied together with thin strips of asparagus stalk. Best of all, they can be made well in advance and simply removed from the fridge 10 minutes before serving.

Monkfish fingers wrapped in Parma Ham with lemon, thyme and pepper

The meaty texture of monkfish means it can stand up to bold flavours, and this simple, clever dish is a brilliant way to showcase this luxurious ingredient. The tail meat is cut into thick fingers, which are wrapped in slices of Parma Ham and baked in the oven. A simple tartare sauce provides a zingy dip which contrasts beautifully with the meaty flavours and textures.