The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘prosciutto end’

Thick as Fog Pea Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

One has often heard the cliché “The Fog was as Thick as Pea Soup.” Last week, having cooked up a big batch of Pea Soup to warm our innards during this dreary, cold and damp (but not foggy) New England winter, which started just after Thanksgiving, and, according to the calendar, about 3 weeks before the first day of winter, I decided to research the genesis of this old bromide. Growing up with Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens as my entertaining companions, as well as Frank Sinatra, I was drawn to Google references about Foggy London Town and discovered this gem:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2243732/Pea-souper-killed-12-000-So-black-screen-cinemas-So-suffocatingly-lethal-ran-coffins-How-Great-Smog-choked-London-60-years-ago-week.html

Further on, I came across this old nursery rhyme that I hadn’t thought about in ages:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

This pea porridge will not sit in the pot for nine days in our home, but it will help to warm our viscera for a few weeks, and if half of it is frozen, it might last another month, but it’s so good that I highly doubt it.

Thick as Fog Pea Soup

(30 minutes active preparation time, 20 minutes active cooking and 50 minutes unattended cooking)

Ingredients:

2 lbs. green split peas, rinsed well
1 large onion diced, about 2 cups
10 cloves garlic chopped, about 1/4 cup
4 celery stalks diced, about 1 cup
3 carrots diced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 packets of Goya Sabor a Jamón (ham flavored concentrate) *
4 Quarts of water

Procedure:

  1. In an 8 qt. pot, add garlic and onions and sweat over medium- low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add celery and carrots, and sweat for 5 minutes more, stirring periodically.
  3. Mix in the Goya Sabor a Jamón and stir well for 1 minute more.
  4. Remove the pot from heat, add the peas and water, cover and bring to a rapid boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.
  6. Stir periodically, to prevent peas from sticking to the bottom.
  7. Transfer to a food processor in batches, pulse process until fairly smooth, then add to a clean pot. Continue until all of the soup has been processed.

Just before serving, add some cut-up hot dogs, about 2 per person (cut 3/4 inch thick) and heat thoroughly. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil to each bowl.

*This is a quick and easy recipe and the Goya Sabor a Jamón adds a nice smoked pork flavor to the soup. However, the ingredients listed in order of highest concentration are salt & MSG. So if you have an aversion to them, then take the time and expense to substitute them with Smoked Ham Hocks (2), a Ham Bone, or a Prosciutto End. That is how we usually make our pea soup, but in this case the Goya Sabor a Jamón worked just as well, and we didn’t have to go out to the market on a cold and dreary  day.

Pea Soup as thick as fog, enjoyed by the fire place, that says winter on Cape Cod!

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This Little Piggy Came from the Market

In General Articles on July 4, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Last month, while visiting my favorite butcher, Vincent’s Meat Market on Arthur Avenue, the “Little Italy” (a/k/a Belmont) of the Bronx, I spotted a prosciutto end, which is hard to come by in Falmouth. Thinking I would use it in a batch of Pasta e Fagioli, I added it to my meat order. But, last week with the sudden onslaught of summer heat and humidity, preparing a winter dish like that over a hot stove held little appeal and the thought of eating one held even less appeal.

Since the prosciutto was cured and vacuum packed, it probably would have lasted three or four more months in the refrigerator, at least until the onset of cold weather. However, each time I opened the refrigerator door it called out to me; after all that is its nature, to be eaten.

One of life’s greatest combinations is prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted red peppers and basil. Put those four ingredients on a chunk of crispy Italian bread, drizzle on some olive oil and you’ve got yourself perfection. But I don’t have a meat slicer, and for inclusion in a Hero (Grinder, Sub, Hoagie or whatever its called where you come from; I’m from New York so it’s always a Hero) prosciutto sliced in any way other than paper-thin would be a sin. Besides, crispy Italian bread is a rarity in Falmouth, where most bakeries are in giant supermarkets.

That tri-color combination, red, white and green, which happens to reflect the colors of the Italian flag, is perfection itself. So what else to do with the remains of this generous little pig? When all else fails, man’s thoughts turn to…PASTA!

Now for the alchemy. First, I thought I would lightly brown the prosciutto in its own rendered fat. Then, toss the mozzarella with the hot pasta letting it melt. Finally, add the prosciutto and other ingredients, and and serve it at room temperature. The execution worked well, but for two hitches, and the meal turned out to be appetizing, but perfection was not attained. I have added some footnotes to the recipe for Summer Penne, which I intend to incorporate next time. But that will have to wait until the next butcher run.

A few days later, using the remaining bit of prosciutto, I prepared a Frittata with Peas and Herbs, which served as the keystone for a delicious Sunday Brunch.

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