For our Christmas Starter this year I’m nestling some caramelised scallops on top of some pillowy soft Parma Ham and a fresh pea and mint puree. A delicious, decadent starter or light lunch ready in only 15 minutes. I’ve teamed up with Parma Ham to showcase some of the delicious qualities that make Prosciutto di Parma such a tasty and versatile ingredient. It’s a staple ingredient in our house and I love how you can use it in so many ways. I love wrapping some slices around melon and figs, adding it to homemade pizzas, roasting it wrapped around some chicken or cod, using some in a decadent carbonara or simply just grilling it for a few minutes to make a Parma Ham crisp.
Parma Ham is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, which is produced in the hills surrounding the town of Parma in the Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy. Parma Ham must be
aged for a minimum of a year and is made using only 4 ingredients – Italian pork, air, salt, and time – following strict and precise production techniques that have undergone very few changes over the years.
The Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma was established in 1963 to safeguard the genuine product, its tradition, and quality. Since 1970, when the first law on Parma Ham was passed, it is the official body in charge of protecting and promoting the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) certification and the quality of the product. Today, the Consortium is comprised of all 140 Parma Ham producers.
You can tell your Parma Ham is authentic by the Ducal Crown that appears on the packaging. The Ducal Crown has 5 points because the inspection body (CSQA Certificazioni) quality-checks the ham by inserting a horse bone into 5 different points. Crazy huh!
So, for this recipe defrost about 200g of frozen peas in boiling water then add to a food processor along with a knob of butter, a few sprigs of mint and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Whizz until smooth. Take a few slices of Parma Ham and fold until the slice is about an inch wide then cook in a frying pan for a minute a side. Remove from the pan then add the scallops, cooking for 2 mins per side until nice and golden. Place the puree on a plate, top with the Parma Ham, a scallop and drizzle a little sauce from the pan over. This dish also works delightfully with a roasted butternut squash puree.
What’s your favourite way to use Parma Ham?