May 02, 2011
My niece is a declared vegetarian. Starting first with meat, and not much of a seafood eater, it’s been a process of food group elimination, driven as much, if not more, by personal taste as by philosophy. Things got complicated when, at 13, she expressed an interest in a career as a chef, as she knew that going through culinary school would be well nigh impossible without eating – or at least tasting – meat.
While the culinary career has long been abandoned in the pursuit of a business degree (captains of industry being much more likely to make millions than a chef), I think I’ve always known that someday, meat would make a comeback in her diet. But even I wasn’t prepared for her casual announcement one day that, indeed, she had started eating meat again. Specifically salume and prosciutto. But, she was quick to assure me, she was still a vegetarian otherwise.
As I continue my adventures in meat curing via Charcutepalooza this year, I offer up this dish in honour of my not-quite-a-vegetarian niece. I don’t know that a steak is on her horizon any time soon, but I’ll gladly sit down to a meal of charcuterie with her any time.
This duck prosciutto was the first Charcutepalooza challenge, and was what convinced me that there wasn’t any great mystery to curing meats other than patience, lots of salt and a trusted guide. The guide comes in the form of Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie. And while you’ll have to buy the book to find out how to make the prosciutto (or take the easy route and just buy some readymade), I’ll gladly share my crostini recipe with you here.
1 bunch rapini (broccoli rabe), trimmed, washed and chopped
1 large clove garlic
¼ c chicken stock or water
I tbsp olive oil, plus ½ cup
1 small French baguette
8 oz ounces duck prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 lb burrata cheese
Maldon or other finishing salt
1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in a medium non stick skillet. Mince garlic sauté quickly in oil; be careful not to brown. Add rapini, chicken stock or water; lower heat to medium, cover and saute until rapini is tender-crisp. Remove from heat, drain any remaining liquid and set aside.
2. Slice baguette on the diagonal into ½ inch slices, brush each slide with olive and grilled or broil until lightly browned. Set aside.
3. Using a serrated knife, slice the burrata cheese into thick slices and set aside.
4. Place a generous tablespoon or two of sautéed rapini on each baguette piece. Place a couple of slices of duck prosciutto on top of the rapini, add a slice of burrata and finish with a generous pinch of Maldon salt.