If you’ve ever eaten in Italy, you’ll know that the ingredients which go into Italian food are a whole other level of quality. You don’t have to eat in an expensive restaurant to taste the difference either. Whether it’s ripe, juicy peaches bought from the roadside, or, a glass of table wine, you can be sure it’ll taste incredible – because even the most basic Italian ingredients are amongst some of the finest in the world.
Having been to both Rome & Naples already in May, my taste buds have been well and truly spoilt. Luckily for me, there was a little Italian treat waiting for me when I returned home. The treat was samples of Prosciutto di San Daniele (an Italian dry-cured ham) & Grana Padano (a hard cheese and competitor to Parmesan). Both are very traditional, artisan, Italian products that have been awarded the Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO) from the EU.
The PDO promotes and protects names of quality agricultural products and foods by strictly defining their production area and ensuring traditional methods of production are followed. For instance, Prosciutto di San Daniele comes only from pigs that are born and raised in Italy and no additives or preservatives are allowed to be used. Grana Padano is made from partially skimmed cow’s milk produced in the Po River, from cows that can only be milked twice a day.
Using the best ingredients you can source and pairing the right flavours together, is the key to cooking delicious meals. In fact, sometimes, as the recipe I’m about to share demonstrates, you don’t even need to cook the ingredients to produce something that tastes fantastic.
With ingredients this good at my fingertips I decided the best way to test them out and show them off, was to do very little with them; so I prepared a simple starter using just three main ingredients, allowing the Prosciutto and Grana Padano to take centre stage. The result, which I tested out with my parents and Simon, was a winner with everyone. The dry, saltiness of the cheese balanced perfectly with the sweetnesses from the pear and the prosciutto ham. Serving the ham “crudo” (uncooked) also allowed its delicate flavour and soft texture to be fully appreciated. It’s a pretty understated looking dish but it’s incredibly moreish. I hope you give it a go and love it as much as I do!
Pear, Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele Salad
This pear, Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele salad can be rustled up in under 10 minutes and follows the Italian ethos of “quality ingredients, simply prepared”.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1 – 2 people
- 6 slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele
- 1 ripe pear
- 5g Grana Padano cheese (grated)
- 6-8 shavings of Grana Padano
- Balsamic glaze
- Salt & pepper (to season)
- Lay the slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele on a plate in ripples.
- Peel, core and slice the pear and place on the prosciutto, topping it with the grated Grana Padano.
- Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the prosciutto and pear and top with shavings of Grana Padano (using a cheese plane).
- Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste if required.
*Disclosure: Grana Padano and Prosciutto di San Daniele samples were gifted to me and the recipe was adapted from a Grana Padano recipe – but all opinions are my own.
If you liked this recipe and think you’ll try it out, click on the little heart button below and let me know.