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This Savoury biscuits with Parma Ham mousse  is my second recipe dedicated to the project Parma Accoglie that I presented in the recipe dedicated to Parmigiano.

Why Food Valley?

Have you ever wondered why Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma Ham come from the same area? This is certainly no coincidence and the link between them should make us reflect on the sustainability of the supply chain. In fact, the whey left over after making Parmigiano cheese (thus a product that would be processing waste) is one of the main foodstuffs in the diet of the Po Valley Heavy Pig intended for the production of ham and the rich range of deli meats that take their name from the villages in the province of Parma where they are made, a veritable map of specialities (Culatello from Zibello, Salame from Felino, Spalla from San Secondo).

Parma ham, especially with the lengthy maturation as in this recipe, is extraordinary as it is, and the best advice may be to handle it as little as possible in the kitchen. For this reason, I thought I would propose a recipe in which the ham is not cooked, but on the contrary is kept cold because that does not alter its aroma and flavour.

An unusual use of Parma Ham

It may seem like a waste to put a 24-month Parma ham in the freezer, but beware: thanks to the presence of salt and the scarcity of water, the ham will not freeze, it will merely become cold and harder. This way, we can blend it to obtain what I like to call ‘grated ham’, without it heating up and changing its smell and taste (see how to use it in other recipes).

As the ham returns to room temperature and you serve the Savoury biscuit with Parma ham mousse, the ham releases all its wonderfully sweet aromas. I adore the combination of those with the notes of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar produced a few kilometres further east.

If you want to discover the secrets of how Parma Ham is madein addition to enjoying it in local trattorias and restaurants during your visit, you can come back during the Prosciutto Festival held every year in early September in the town of Langhirano towards the Apennines (unfortunately not in 2020) or organise a visit to one of the 200 ham factories. I assure you that after seeing the level of care and detail put in its production, it will taste even better!

And to find out what to do in and around Parma, explore some suggestions on the blog posted by my friend Aura.

I biscotti salati con mousse di Prosciutto di Parma e gocce di Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale

Savoury biscuits with Parma ham mousse and drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Parma Accoglie and my recipe for Savoury biscuits with Parma ham mousse

43.45g carbohydrates per 100g of savoury biscuits

2.6g carbohydrate per 100g mousse

 Ingredients for the savoury sablé dough (you will need half)

  • 200g flour for bread and yeast BiAglut** (or wheat flour for those who can have it)
  • 130g butter
  • 60g almonds
  • 1 egg white (approx. 40g)
  • 30g wholemeal teff flour*
  • 30g corn starch
  • 7g salt

Ingredients for the ham mousse (15 single portions)

  • 220g real or vegetable cream
  • 80g Parma ham matured for 24 months in a single slice and placed in the freezer
  • 5g gelatine sheets*
  • Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena or Reggio Emilia
  • parsley leaves for decoration

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Prepare the mousse, which needs to rest for at least 1 hour in the freezer. Soak the gelatine in a small bowl of cold water. Place the ‘frozen’ Parma ham in the  food processor and blend it finely, but without it heating up. Add 100g of cream to the grated ham.
  2. Pour 20g of cream into a saucepan and heat it; add the soaked gelatine so that it melts completely, then pour it into the container with the ham.
  3. Whip the remaining cream and fold it in the ham mixture with a spatula. Fill the chosen moulds with the mousse (I chose these), determine the size according to the sablé biscuit you will be making. I chose a 5cm diameter) and place in the freezer until the mousse is hard enough to be taken out of the moulds without difficulty.
  4. Prepare the sablé dough for the biscuits that will serve as the base for your mousse. This dose is about twice as much as you will need, but, unless you use pasteurised egg whites, it cannot be divided. So take advantage of this to make extra savoury biscuits that you can combine with dips and soft cheeses for your aperitifs. Mix the flour with the butter to form crumbs, then add all the other ingredients to form a smooth, compact mixture.
  5. Take two sheets of baking paper and place the sablé in between; with the help of a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4mm and, leaving it on the paper and placing it on a tray, put it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 20 minutes. When the sablé is firm, cut small disks with a 5cm diameter biscuit cutter and place the disks on a perforated silicone mat. This way you will be able to knead and cut the dough very well.
  6. Bake the biscuits in a static oven preheated to 160°C for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  7. Remove the mousses from the moulds. If you are going to serve them soon, keep them at room temperature for about 30 minutes before finishing them or store them in the fridge until you need them: they will last perfectly for 2 days.
  8. Take a biscuit, place the mousse on it and top with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena or Reggio Emilia. Decorate with a parsley leaf.
Il biscotto e la mousse: perfetti finger food

Biscuits and mousse: a perfect finger food

Version with gluten of Savoury biscuit with Parma ham  mousse

Simply replace the 200g of gluten-free flour for the savoury sablé biscuit with an equal amount of wheat flour.

 

Saffron gnocchi with asparagus and grated Prosciutto are an easy idea to make, they use Italy’s yellow gold (saffron), a seasonal vegetable, and honour one of the most extraordinary products of my home town’s culinary tradition, Prosciutto di Parma.

Gnocchi are a classic that everyone loves, they are perfect in any season and allow us to unleash our creativity by inventing sauces with any ingredient.

Yet, preparing soft potato gnocchi in which you do not taste the flour and which do not dissolve in the cooking water requires a few tricks. First of all, ask your trusted greengrocer for potatoes with firm, non-watery flesh, then remember that it is essential to mash the potatoes while still hot, but never add flour before they have cooled down completely. See here the video on how to prepare gnocchi.

In this recipe, I wanted to share one of my favourite ways of using Prosciutto di Parma in the kitchen, i.e. grated like cheese to flavour the dish and overwhelm us with its aroma released by the heat of the gnocchi. Remember that Prosciutto placed in the freezer will not freeze due to the presence of salt, but this operation will allow us to grate it without overheating it, thus leaving its taste and aroma unaltered.

I am sure that once you have tasted ham in this way, you will be tempted to use it in many other recipes to the infinite joy of you and your guests.

Saffron gnocchi with asparagus and grated Prosciutto

    carbohydrates 21.67g per 100g

Ingredients for the gnocchi

  • 1kg boiled and peeled potatoes
  • 200g gluten-free pasta flour, brand Molino Dallagiovanna**
  • 1 whole eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • brown rice flour* for dusting the cutting board

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 300g asparagus
  • 200g milk
  • 50g Prosciutto di Parma in a single slice, kept in the freezer
  • 30g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4g potato starch*
  • 0.5g saffron
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Mash the boiled potatoes while they are still hot, leaving the peel in the potato masher. Let them cool completely, then add the flour, the whole egg and a pinch of salt, mixing everything to obtain an even mixture.
  2. Take pieces of dough, form them into long cylinders with a diameter of about 2cm, then cut them into small pieces that you will slide over the tines of a fork so that their surface is grooved (this way the gnocchi will hold the sauce better!). Place the ready gnocchi on a tray lightly dusted with rice flour.
  3. Start preparing the sauce. Take the asparagus, wash, dry and cut into three parts: remove the woody part which you will throw away (unless you want to make a stock to use for a risotto), keep the middle part to boil and blend to make a cream and set aside the softer part and tips to use in pieces for the gnocchi.
  4. Put the asparagus tips in a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and let them soften.
  5. Prepare the cold sauce. Put the potato starch in a bowl and dissolve it with the milk, adding it gradually so that no lumps form. Add saffron to the mixture, stirring well with a whisk and set the sauce aside until use, stirring it occasionally if you are not going to use it right away.
  6. Take Prosciutto out of the freezer and blend it in a food processor as if it were cheese. Keep it aside.
  7. At this point you can assemble the preparation. Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water; pour the saffron cream into the pan with the asparagus tips and when the gnocchi rise to the surface, drain them with a slotted spoon and toss them into the pan with asparagus and saffron, add the grated Parmesan cheese and allow gnocchi to gain flavour. Pour the gnocchi onto a serving plate and finish by sprinkling them with grated Prosciutto di Parma. If you love gnocchi, enjoy my Ricotta dumplings with radicchio.

Gli gnocchi allo zafferano pronti per essere gustati

Version with gluten of Saffron gnocchi with asparagus and grated prosciutto

Replace Molino Dallagiovanna flour with conventional wheat flour in equal quantities.

 

The Parma Ham Festival ended a few days ago, but we can’t get enough of this traditional specialty. So, why not think of an appetising starter with the king of deli meats? Try these gluten-free Croutons with chickpea hummus and Prosciutto di Parma.

In this recipe, we have decided to combine ham with chickpea hummus, which, with its special texture, gives even more fullness to each bite. Hummus can be used for may more snack ideas, including as a dip for fresh vegetables for a special Pinzimonio. So why not try also this amazing pink hummus. Have fun giving your recipe a touch of colour.

Look at the ingredients for this very simple, quick and tasty recipe and let’s get ready to cook!

Gluten-free Croutons with chickpea hummus and Prosciutto di Parma

Chickpea hummus carbohydrates 10.33g per 100g

Mixed leavening bread carbohydrates 45g per 100g

Ingredients for hummus

  • 230g already cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 60g water
  • 40g lemon juice
  • 40g tahina (sesame seed cream)*
  • 30g extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for gluten-free croutons

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. To prepare the hummus, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and even.
  2. Cut slices of Mixed leavening bread to the desired size. If you prefer a crunchier crouton, toast the slices in a toaster or in the oven.
  3. Spread the hummus on each slice and top with a slice of freshly sliced Prosciutto di Parma. Easy, isn’t it?

crostini-gluten-free-con hummus-di-ceci-e-prosciutto-di-parma-uno-chef-per-gaia

Version with gluten of Croutons with chickpea hummus and Parma ham

Replace the gluten free croutons with standard bread: hummus only contains naturally gluten free ingredients.