Prosciutto Wrapped Broccolini with Basil Crisps Recipe

Posted by on Nov 24, 2009

This simple dish bursts with the flavours of Italy. Its inspiration? The many memorable cured meats I experienced during my travels through Florence and Venice.



Countless prosciutto to choose from


Regional Salame
To add some punch, I deepfried some Italian basil as garnish. The glistening leaves add a burst of colour and the feathery brittle texture is fun on the tongue indeed.

The addition of a good balsamic vinegar is the only natural thing to do.

 


 

San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale, Florence

My favourite part about wandering through the markets of Italy is the generous samples the vendors offer. Back home, I sheepishly mumble my request for a meat or cheese sample and feel I’m a hassle if I pick several.


That’s not the case in the bustling San Lorenzo market in Florence. While it might be slightly touristy and the competition is fierce, the vendors are sincerely proud of their products and are confident that one quick taste will close a sale.


Amongst the plethora of cured meats, sausages, and hams, each shop also has a range of marinated delights. There’s a magical chemistry about pairing salty, smoky meats with lively, vinegary vegetables.


Oh, how I long to nibble my way through an Italian market again… but until then, the perfume of basil that fills my kitchen takes me back for a moment.

 


Asparagus would be the typical vegetable choice for this dish but I used broccolini because it is readily available during the colder winter months.


Broccolini is a cross between broccolli and gai-lan, a common green used in Asian cooking. The distinct florets grow out of crispy gai-lan like stems. Its flavor is sweeter and greener than broccolli and has a lovely tinge of bitterness.


This vegetable carries its own flavour and can stand up to the saltiness of the prosciutto and the pronounced tang of the vinegar.

 


 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of Broccolini
  • Fresh Basil
  • Thinly sliced Prosciutto or your preferred cured meat
  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • s&p

 


Directions

Prepare an ice bath. Trim the bottom tip off the broccolini.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt. Blanch the broccolini for 30 seconds, remove, then submerge into the ice bath.

When the broccolini is fully cooled, drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel.



Balsamic Reduction:

Reduce the balsamic vinegar over medium heat until it becomes 1/4 cup of sticky syrup. Set aside.

Basil Crisps:
Here’s the fun part. Heat up some olive oil in a deep pot until the oil shimmers.

Have a splatter guard, pot lid, or anything that you can use as a shield ready. Wear goggles to be extra safe. It’s impossible to shoot photos during this quick (and risky) procedure so I apologize.

Drop a small handful of basil leaves into the oil. Immediately shield your face from potential splatter. It only takes one second for the leaves to pop. Immediately fish them from the oil with a strainer and place onto a towel-lined plate. The leaves should become crisp and translucent, but not darkened or it will be bitter.


To Finish:
Heat up the grill and coat generously with olive oil. Grill the broccolini until slightly charred and softened. Season with salt and pepper.


Wrap the broccolini with prosciutto. Place onto serving platter, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic reduction.

Garnish with basil crisps when ready to serve.



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  • http://www.keepyourdietreal.com Corrine

    I love the bright greens! That broccolini looks awesome!

  • http://invitadoinviernoeng.blogspot.com/ Miriam/The winter guest

    So you’re back! I hope you had a grand time in Europe, what about Barcelona? By the way, lovely way to prepare brocolini.

  • http://www.unplannedcooking.com Unplanned Cooking

    Amazing pics! Makes me want to run out and buy some prosciutto — and broccolini!

  • http://iloveflavourme.blogspot.com/ ruth

    Wow, droooling!

  • http://teajewel.wordpress.com candice

    Delicious! I love gailan, and broccoli is my absolute favorite green vegetable, so I’ll probably love broccolini too. Basil crisps sound so yummy. Must try.

  • http://forkspoonnknife.blogspot.com Asha@FSK

    Love prosciutto and parma ham even more.. wish we cud get the spanish ham here… it adds such wonderful flavor to everything!

    btw for the fennel challenge, are fennel seeds ok?

  • http://www.chackoskitchen.blogspot.com abraham

    oh how i love this brocolli.. wonderful thanks for this great choice recipe

  • http://www.spinachtiger.com Angela@spinachtiger.com

    This is so my kind of meal. Everything about it screams spinach tiger. And, I would have never thought of this pairing. Bravo.

  • http://www.sense-serendipity.blogspot.com Divina

    I like that. Very elegant and very tasty. I absolutely love fennel and I miss it so much. :D

  • http://www.cartablog.wordpress.com radha

    a great idea indeed ~ i found organic mediun size fennels at 5 minuts from my office i cant believe it! i a m so happy ~ this is my top childhood veg ~

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com Jessica

    that looks wonderful, I just love how vibrant the green is from the broccolini and prosciutto compliments it so well. looks so delicious!

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    Such a lovely post and recipe. I love your shots from Italy!!!

  • http://www.foodandwinechickie.com Veronique

    This looks great, specially after all the fattening foods served in the last few days!

  • http://chefwanabe.com Anna

    It looks divine, and the market is amazing, great pics.