Whoaaaaa. As December gets into it’s groove, our calendars are already filling up with Holiday gatherings and events and I don’t feel nearly ready. It’s the same story every year; October hits and I smugly congratulate myself on realizing how imminent the Holidays are and vow to get planning early. December hits and here I am, no plans! No freezer full of cookies! No lists or dog-eared recipes! Cue the annual panic.
Thankfully we don’t do a whole lot of the hosting around the Holidays and, instead, stick to bringing dishes with us to gatherings with friends and family. I do like to have some fun cocktail-style recipes in the back of my head in case company comes or we decide to host a last minute party (also an annual occurrence), so of all the things I didn’t do this year, I did manage to create a recipe worthy of the wonderful people I’ll be sharing the Holidays with and for once, I’ll let that be enough. Life is hard enough without the Holiday pressure, right?
These elegant cocktail bites combine some of my favourite flavours; salty, crisp Prosciutto, sweet and supple figs, sharp nutty Parmesan and a drizzle of luscious honey. All the sweets and salties married together in a two-bite snack that will pair well with a coupe of dry bubbly or a fruity, floral Gamay. Because they are best served room temperature, you’re able to prepare some aspects of the dish, like roasting the hazelnuts and whipping up the Parmesan Mousse, a day or two before so you’re not stuck doing all the prep on the day you’re hosting your gathering. Having the day-of to tidy, do a little prep and give yourself time to pour a glass of wine and get fancied up makes for a calm and happy host… aka the best kind!
I used San Daniele‘s smoked prosciutto in this particular recipe – I love the gentle smokiness it lends to the final dish, but if you’re more of a purist feel free to use their classic variety. Whichever you use, prosciutto makes an incredible base for any holiday party appetizer offering a crispy, savory vessel for all your favourite fillings. We love a spoonful of apple-onion chutney, a slice of blue cheese and some crisp pear, or some salted roasted grapes with Manchego and honey. The possibilities are endless so having a package on hand means you’re always ready to pop them in the oven and create something inspired on short notice.
Before you get cooking, check my Instagram page for a Mastro/San Daniele prize pack giveaway and you could be whipping up something incredible with their quality meats.
- 6 thin slices San Daniele Smoked Prosciutto
- Parmesan mousse, recipe follows
- ⅓ cup crushed Roasted Hazelnuts, recipe follows
- 4 small fresh figs, cut in quarters
- 2 tbsp good quality honey
- Fresh ground pepper
- PARMESAN MOUSSE
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 fresh sage leaves
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- sea salt, to taste
- ROASTED HAZELNUTS
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts (filberts)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- FOR THE PROSCIUTTO
- Cut the pieces of prosciutto in half width-wise and press each half into a mini muffin tin making sure it's patted down flat at the bottom. The shape will change as it bakes, but you want to make sure there is a good dent in the middle for the rest of the ingredients.
- Fill the 12 slots with prosciutto and bake for 8-10 minutes or until it's crisp and shunken.
- Remove and cool on a wire rack set over a clean towel for the fat to drain.
- FOR THE MOUSSE
- Pour the cream, sage and Parmesan into a small sauce pot and bring to a very gentle simmer. Once simmering, cook for 5-6 minutes and remove from heat.
- Taste for salt and add more if needed (take care not to oversalt as the prosciutto will be nice and salty as well).
- Strain the cream to remove any lingering solids.
- Cool completely by placing in the fridge over night or by pouring into a small bowl set over a larger bowl filled with ice.
- FOR THE HAZELNUTS
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a baking pan toast hazelnuts in one layer in middle of oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly colored and skins are blistered. Move nuts to a kitchen towel or paper bag and cover (or seal) for 5 minutes. Rub nuts in towel to remove loose skins (don’t worry about skins that don’t come off) and cool completely.
- TO ASSEMBLE
- Place the cups on a serving board and fill each one with: 1-2 tsp of the mousse, 1 slice of fresh fig, a sprinkle of crushed hazelnuts and a drizzle of honey. Garnish with fresh ground pepper. Serve at room temperature.
Disclaimer: I am part of the #MASTROYOURHOLIDAY Campaign sponsored by Mastro and San Daniele and receive compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. Regardless, I only work with brands I use personally and enjoy.