Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Proscuitto Caprese with Toasty Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Chips

 I have a terrible time leaving caprese alone.  I just keep messing with it.  Adding this and that.  Changing it up. Or Down.  In part, I've just been overrun with tomatoes, so why not eat them fresh while they're heavy, fragrant, juicy, and ripe?  Make hay while the sun shines.

Here's the Linguine Caprese from last week:

Sauté minced garlic and shallots in olive oil; cook up some fresh pasta.  Add fresh tomatoes, chopped mozzarella, parsley and basil to the hot pasta and cover a couple of minutes.   That's it. Black pepper, of course.

 Or you might remember Bacon Caprese?  With Green Bean and mustard vinaigrette?  I also have just a wee passion for composed salads (or other dishes) on huge round platters I've snagged on the cheap at ARC or, in one case, simply on the huge markdown at one of Williams-Sonoma's end of season sales.

There's an easy recipe for making your own cheese here, though it's not truly mozzarella.

 But I digress...the Proscuitto Caprese has a little different spin and takes some extra time.  It's worth it.  And I love the juxtaposition of the warm Brussels sprouts with the room temp caprese; I don't like cold tomatoes.  I want them to taste of the sun.  With salt, of course.  Could you switch out the proscuitto for bacon, capacola, Serrano ham, Virginia ham, or thinly-sliced grilled chicken?  Sure! I'll write you a note.   This is more of a method than a recipe, but I've written it out just in case.  Amounts are approximate.  (I also posted it on Food52.) Here's how:

proscuitto caprese with toasty brussels sprouts and parmesan

4 servings

First cook the Brussels Sprouts.  While they're cooking (20-30 minutes depending on size), you can prepare the caprese.
  • 4T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed (if large, cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup large shaved slices Parmesan cheese (use potato peeler)
Heat to medium low a large, heavy saute pan or deep skillet with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a generous pinch each the salt and peppers.  Add the sprouts and let cook, stirring, about ten minutes until they've started browning and softening. Add the Parmesan pieces to bottom of the pan.  Cook without stirring until sprouts are very tender, quite brown, and the Parmesan slices have turned into chips.

In the meantime,  prepare the caprese:
  • 2 large, heavy and ripe tomatoes, sliced and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 8 ounces Proscuitto  (you can definitely use less if you'd like)
  • 3 cups salad greens (your choice)
  • juice of one lemon

Layer, in a circle (overlapping) on a large round platter (or in lines on a rectangular one) the tomatoes, cheese, basil, and proscuitto.  Surround the caprese with salad greens.

Then put it all together and dress the salad.

When the sprouts are done, and while they're warm, place them at the center of the salad.  Squeeze lemon juice over everything and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle  all with just a bit more salt and pepper, making sure you season the salad greens.

Cook's Notes: You can substitute the more traditional balsamic vinegar and oil if you'd like.  If you're using Italian proscuitto, be very careful with the salt you add.  Our domestic (American) proscuitto, which is less expensive and perfectly usable--if different--is less salty.

Layers and layers of textures and flavors.

If you liked this, you might also like this week's Dinner Place Blog (Cooking for One):

farro salad with canned wild Alaskan salmon, tomatoes, basil, and spinach

or  our dinner the night after we had the proscuitto caprese....  Here are gorgeous fresh figs, fig jam, a little baguette, manchego thinly sliced and the rest of the proscuitto.   Who needs to cook?

 two-dog kitchen and around the 'hood

As the weather turns from hot as ___ to immediately rainy and chilly (??), it's time to harvest basil and make pesto for the freezer.  I'm also making a treat for the choir for tomorrow night's rehearsal.  Probably apple crostatas, but maybe pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.  I've got some large carafes and will make coffee and tea before I leave home, toting it to church so I don't have to go so early to make hot drinks.  This will be our third rehearsal of the year, but we've been missing traveling folks until now so I waited to bring a welcoming, start of the year something special for breaktime.
Prospect Park United Methodist--Here's where I work and worship.

Our Tuck lapping up the remaining sun.

Sing a new song; make a new caprese,


  1. That's so full of flavor I salute you for making such an amazing recipe. I will be trying this definitely.

  2. @Michelle: Thanks for making my day! I hope you make, eat, share, and enjoy.


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