One of my favorite ways to welcome guests before dinner is to offer a tray of small nibbles — a few slices of cheese, some bread and pickles, and some cured meats. It's easy, convenient, and delicious, especially when a nice glass of wine is poured as well! But up until now I have been at a loss when putting out prosciutto on an appetizer tray. It's so thin and gets tangled up, or else it sticks to the dish, so that guests have to peel it up awkwardly with the tips of their fingers. Then I saw something simple and brilliant at a local wine bar: Prosciutto rosettes!
This is quite an obvious solution, once I saw it done. But I had never thought of serving cured meats this way. The wine bar (Mouton, for all of you Central Ohio folks!) serves simple yet satisfying boards of selected cheeses, cured meats, and preserved onions and artichokes, along with very good cocktails and wines. Last time I was there they brought me a board of cheese and prosciutto, with the prosciutto wrapped into rosettes.
Each rosette is easy to pick up and pop in your mouth, and the wrapped and twisted meat feels more satisfying to chew. It looks pretty on the plate, and they are easy to make, too.
To make prosciutto rosettes:
• First, wash your hands well, as you're handling food that won't be cooked before eating.
• Next, take a piece of prosciutto and twist into a long strand.
• Then wrap it tightly into a rosette, tucking the end underneath if necessary to keep it from unrolling. (I've found, though, that this is rarely necessary; the meat is moist enough that it holds its shape after rolling up.)
• Arrange on a platter with some cheese and pickles and you're done.
So think of this next time you want to serve a few nibbles to your guests — it's also of course a lovely light lunch or dinner for yourself. Just a few twists of prosciutto or speck, along with some sliced cheese, a pickle or two, some mustard and bread.
How do you serve prosciutto and other cured meats?
(Images: Faith Durand)