Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If you happen upon some serrano ham....

I haven't seen serrano ham locally, but it's truly one of the culinary jewels of the porcine world. From the Consorcio de Jamon Serrano Espanol, here are some quick recipes for the holiday season.

Because of their richer and fuller flavor, these all natural air-dried cured ham prepared with centuries old artisan traditions and techniques require less to deliver more delicious flavor. Making a holiday party a sensation couldn't be easier with tasty tapas made with Serrano ham. It's no wonder the Serrano trend is rising, with more and more restaurants and home cooks serving them.

Here are three simple tapas recipes made with Serrano hams from Spain that can be made in less than 5 to 20 minutes each.
Serrano Stuffed Mushrooms

Preparation time: 20 minutes (Serves 4)

8 large mushrooms
2 Spanish onions
2 thick slices of Serrano ham (Jamón Serrano del Consorcio)
Virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

Remove the stem from the mushrooms, clean them and set aside.
In a frying pan with a bit of olive oil, lightly saute the Welsh onions and mushroom stems previously sliced. Once browned,
add small chunks of Jamón Serrano del Consorcio and stir in the pan.
Use this mixture to stuff the mushroom heads and place them in a baking dish. Add salt and pepper and pour olive oil over them. Place them in the oven for 10 minutes at 170º C.

Chef's Suggestions:
Other vegetables can be substituted, such as green or red peppers, zucchini, asparagus, etc.

Serrano and Cream Cheese Wraps
Preparation time: 15 minutes (Serves 4)

8 slices of Serrano ham (Jamón Consorcio-Serrano)
5 1/2 oz. of cream cheese
2 oz. of pine nuts

Smash the pine nuts and brown them in a frying pan.
Clean and cut the chives. Mix it all with the fresh cheese.
Spread the mixture on the ham slices and roll up.
Chef's Suggestions:
For a more intense flavour, it can be browned in the oven for 2 minutes.

The Consorcio's Serrano, Zucchini & Pepper "Tapa"

Preparation time: 5 minutes (Serves 4)

4 slices of rustic style bread
4 piquillo peppers
1 zucchini
4 slices of Consorcio Serrano ham (Jamón Serrano del Consorcio)
Olive oil and salt

Mash the piquillo peppers with a bit of oil and salt.
Clean and cut the zucchini in slices. Grill them.
Arrange the dish: Spread the piquillo pepper cream on the bread, then add the zucchini and a slice of Jamón Consorcio-Serrano.

Chef's Suggestions:
The tapas can be seasoned with a dressing of olive oil and diced black olives. For creams, Eggplant caviar, artichoke cream, tapenade (olive relish), tomato, etc.