Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grilled Bread with Prosciutto Barefoot Contessa Style


This grilled bread with prosciutto recipe is in Ina Garten’s (The Barefoot Contessa) latest cookbook How Easy is That? Ina put it in the cocktails category, but for us it easily was dinner when we combined it with a green salad and a cold beer.

Since the recipe isn’t on the Food Network site yet, I’ll talk you through it below, with a few changes. I used regular fresh mozzarella cheese instead of the fresh smoked one that Ina called for because I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella. Ina grated the cheese, but what I bought was too soft to grate, so I broke it up into bits with my fingers. I also thought the dish needed a burst of fresh flavor, so I added fresh basil leaves in the layer between the cheese and the prosciutto.

Choose a good, sturdy bread and cut it into 6 slices. Grill or toast the bread in a toaster oven on one side until golden. Immediately rub the grilled side with a half of a slice of a large garlic clove. Ina recommends that if you like a real garlicky flavor, rub hard. We thought that the garlic really made it, so don’t skip this step. Drizzle each slice with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Crumble 2 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese well with your fingers or grate it and divide it into six piles. Tear 2 ounces of Prosciutto de Parma and divide into six piles. To assemble, place one pile of the prosciutto on the grilled side of each bread slice. Slip in a fresh basil leaf or two, and top with crumbled mozzarella cheese. Return the bread to a hot grill or toaster oven to melt the cheese and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove the slices and drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, season to taste with a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve hot.


This is a rich appetizer, both in terms of taste and your wallet. When you are making a dish with only a few ingredients, it’s essential that you use only the finest of ingredients, which is what real Prosciutto de Parma is as opposed to the stuff you find in styro-packs at the grocery store hanging on a rack in the deli. It is also expensive. Combined with the melted mozzarella, this is a very rich and filling dish. As far as easy goes, Ina was right on with that. It took only a few minutes to put it together.

Would we serve it again? As much as I love Ina and trust her recipes and own all of her cookbooks, probably not on this one. The main reason is we felt that the mozzarella cheese overpowered the prosciutto and all we tasted was cheese. If I’m going to buy the good (and expensive) Prosciutto de Parma, I want to savor and taste every morsel. In all fairness, Ina called for prosciutto and did not specify Prosciutto de Parma. But would you really want to use the cheap stuff? Plus, the dish was, in our opinion, too heavy as an appetizer and would spoil your or your guest’s appetite for dinner.

Have you tried this recipe and, if so, what did you think of it?

61 comments:

  1. This is so easy and would make a most delicious lunch. I like open faced sandwiches because I like to see what I'm eating.

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  2. I'll take fresh mozzarella over the smoked kind any time. I don't think most people realize how these cheeses are unfortunately smoked with unthinkable chemicals.
    Eat it at your own risk.

    Therefore...Sam, it seems you did our health a big favour without knowing it. Great instincts you have ;o)

    Everything looks very appetizing.

    Have a wonderful day and flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

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  3. I have this cookbook and want to make these!! They would be awesome at a party. Not the biggest fan of prosciutto but I would totally do it with bacon for an even more decadent/caloric treat :)

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  4. I am so glad you tried this and told us what you thought. I think I would feel the same way about it being "heavy". It is pretty to look at though isn't it?!

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  5. You are making me hungry!!! It looks so good.

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  6. It looks delicious to me Sam and I can envision it topped with a fried egg for breakfast. :-)

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  7. I was going to say my husband would love it..

    How about fontina on it? The basil and prosciutto is always a winner for us..

    The smoked moz..would have been even more overpowering I think..you?

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  8. Simple, but ho so effective and complex flavor-wise!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  9. Bonjour Sam
    I'm a mozzarella lover and this sounds delish married with prosciutto and basil. Your foodie photo's are always superbe!
    xx
    "All Things French"

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  10. Thanks for your opinion, Sam. As much as I like cheese I think it can easily overpower other ingredients. I like the concept and may play around with it a little bit. Something like this with a salad is one of my favorite types of meal. Thanks for your review.

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  11. It really looks good and I appreciate your honest opinion on it. All her recipes look fabulous.

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  12. Grilled bread, proscuitto and mozzarella...cold beer too? Delightful. You can tell we are enjoying the warm Florida sunshine. I just need a back deck or patio and this would be dinner.

    Awesome.
    Velva

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  13. First I want to say that your picture of this recipe looks every bit as good as the one in Ina's book. Holy cow does this look good! I haven't tried this recipe, but I do understand what you mean about the cheese overpowering the prosciutto. Maybe less cheese? Not sure. I do think I could manage eating at least one for an appetizer to a light dinner (soup, etc.)

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  14. Sam, I bought this cookbook and I love it. Problem is, I forgot all about it until I saw her make another recipe on her show. I'm revisiting the book and I'm glad you shared this recipe. I love Ina's recipes. You had me at salad and beer, by the way. With these, I'd call it a tasty complete meal!

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  15. Hmmm.. might be worth trying. I was thinking the same thing about the smoked mozzarella. That would be even more overpowering. When you say "more" olive oil - where was it used the first time? In grilling the bread? Maybe I read too fast. I may try this, just to see.

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  16. I'm with you. Where I live, everything is expensive so if I'm going to dig deep in my pockets for a special treat I better be able to taste it! Nice recipe tho...quick and easy which is a winning combination. Let us know if you find a better way to preserve the proscuitto flavor :)

    thanks for sharing!

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  17. Oh man, I could have that for BREAKFAST, never mind dinner... Looks melty-licious.
    Robyn x

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  18. It does look delicious! I would use less cheese, I think.

    Hugs,
    Penny

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  19. Sam,

    I am a fan of Ina's but I had questions about this recipe. I think it would be lovely at a cocktail party serving hearty hors d'oeuvres. Or I would just love this as a supper. Smoked mozzarella is too strong for my taste and truly would overpower everything else.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  20. Sam, these cheese and prociutto little sandwiches look so tasty, and I love the idea of basil in between, must really taste so good. Hope your week is going well :-)

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  21. put cheese on it and they will come - and sure enough here I am...

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  22. Oh goodness, anything with prosciutto is at the top of my list! And if there's cheese on it too? Forget about it. Yum!

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  23. I love these but I usually have them as an in-between meal snack or just as a meal themselves, I do think they're too heavy as appetizers though.

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  24. Oh wow! This looks incredibly delicious! Wonderful photos!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xx
    Delightful Bitefuls

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  25. Oh, Sam, this looks so delicious and makes me hungry. This looks like a great dish.

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  26. These sound so good with prosciutto and melted mozzarella on top, very yummy!

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  27. I'll try it -- but with the cheaper prosciutto -- for lunch.

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  28. It certainly looks good, but I think your assessment is correct. I do love prosciutto with chicken and mushrooms though.

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  29. It looks really, really good. I think I'll have to try it and see what I think, I rarely think cheese overpowers anything!

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  30. I have found that mozzarella often overwhelm the prosciutto. I haven't tried this yet... wondering about sprinkling Parmigiano on it instead of the fresh mozz. I also like prosicutto wrapped around aged provolone. I have tried Ina's gruyere with ham on puff pastry for appetizers (way rich) and very delicious. And easy. And I'm with thgse who are not enamoured with smoked mozzarella. Give me the fresh stuff every time.

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  31. I think the smoked mozzarella would have really been too overpowering with the prosciutto. Perhaps just a sprinkling of a cheese? Thanks for the heads up. Ina doesn't usually let me down but we can all have an off day--even Ina!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  32. Your blog is really work the visit. I just missed it for a couple of weeks and there are full menus lined up. Salads, soups, pasta, appetizers.

    I have to become your follower, I do not want to miss a bit.

    Yu sure are a very prolific cook! :)

    HAve a great week!

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  33. I'm sorry to hear that this recipe was not all that you hoped it would be, Sam. Your photos are wonderful and make it look positively alluring. I haven't yet tried this recipe and having read your review don't think it will appear on my table anytime soon. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  34. Even though your photos make it look very appealing, I can see how the mozzarella would overpower the wonderful prosciutto which should be the stand out ingredient here.

    Thanks for the honest review!

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  35. Delicious looking appetizer. Too bad the taste department didn't match up to the look.

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  36. I hadn't tried it-but I love her show. And it looks yummy : )

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  37. Frankly, if you'd bought the smoked mozzarella, it probably would have overpowered the proscuitto even more.
    Sure looks good though.
    After it appears on her show, it's fun to look at the comments via the Food Network website.

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  38. Hi Sam this look really delicious! really yummy!! gloria

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  39. I'm with you, Sam. This would be a perfect light supper. I'm just starting to explore the same cookbook, so it's helpful to hear your thoughts on the recipes. (The other night, I was making the lemon chicken for company, and really underestimated how long it would take to chop 9 cloves of garlic!)

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  40. Have I tried this recipe?

    No. And on your recommendation I probably won't. :-)

    Take care Sam and have a nice day :-)

    ~Ron
    *******

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  41. Like you I love her recipe and did look at that recipe; thank you for being honest about. it Hate to ruin teh taste of a good Prosciutto.
    Rita

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  42. Sam, I agree this looks better served as a lunch or dinner entree rather as an appetizer. Perhaps using less mozzarella -- just a small amount of the cheese grated on top--would make the Prosciutto de Parma stand out? It does look good!

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  43. looks wonderful Sam and love the advice when only using a few ingredients get the real deal

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  44. Such exquisite photos, and the food sounds delicious too. There's no better appetizer than prosciutto and cheese toasted on bread :)

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  45. I would love this for a lazy Sunday brunch! We have some delicious smoked mozzarellas here in South Africa, as well as some amazing artisan plain ones, both of which would work a treat with this! Delicious :)

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  46. Love this & Ina! This would make a great appetizer for company! Thanks for posting this delicious recipe, and have a great weekend!

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  47. Your shots are superb - and your toasts too!

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  48. I haven't tried it but BLEEP that looks great. So simple too. You make a good point about needed better quality ingredients for recipes with few ingredients.

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  49. I appreciate your honesty in your review of this prosciutto-mozzarella appetizer. I would use the same high quality ingredients, but possibly only a dab of mozzarella....and possibly even use a different cheese such as gorgonzola dolce. Either way, you're right, it might be better to serve as a small bite, tapa, or for a heavy appetizer party. Photos make it loo delectable though! You're getting pretty talented with that camera Sam!

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  50. I love all Ina's simple and elegant recipes. And these amazing bite-sized pieces are no exception, especially with the melty mozzarella topping :-]

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  51. I have never seen that recipe before. That would be a great appetizer to serve to guests.

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  52. Love this idea, but I'd use regular mozzarella too - not a fan of the smoked kind. I could eat this for lunch or dinner with a salad as you mentioned.

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  53. I love Ina Garten! This looks so lovely and delicious...it really just looks so perfect!

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  54. I have this cookbook, but I have not tried this recipe. And I probably will skip it after reading your experience, though it seems easy enough.

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  55. Giada also makes a crostini w/ prosciutto and melted mozzarella, drizzled w/ fried sage, it's my favorite.

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  56. I love the simplicity of this dish. I think if will go well with my "happy hour" party with the girls this Thursday!

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Sam