- Grana Padano and San Daniele prosciutto, the taste of tradition
I attended the Grana Padano and Proscuitto di San Daniele master class a few weeks ago.
Meeting with Carlo, Daniela and Giancarlo at Cafè Caldesi, Marylbone, 8.30am.
With croissants and ‘cafè ristretto’ we had an introduction with the PDO products (Protected Designation of Origin).
PDO guarantees the reliability, traceability etc… People like you and I can now check the typicality of Prociutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano cheese.
The San Daniele ham is an air-cured ham produced in San Daniele Del Friuli in Northern Italy. Made from fresh pig thighs, born and reared in Italy, fed according to the standards and sea salt, that’s it, no preservatives, nothing.
After a minimum of 13 months ageing period in the perfect region of Udine (between Alps and Adriatic sea) a series of code are marked on the pigs’ rind to assure its origin.
What’s next ? Eating ! To glory Prociutto di San Daniele at its best, just eat it by itself or with a stick of bread and a white dry wine or cooked in a pasta dishes.
The story of Grana Padana cheese is a bit the same, respect of the traditions (back to 1100AD), production in North Italy in the Padano Valley.
The 24-40 kg wheels shaped cheese are matured slowly from 9 to 24 months, are not made by the monks anymore but the taste is intact, divine, and… divine.
The difference between parmesan cheese and Grana Padano ? First, Parmesan cheese is a nickname to call that range of dry and granular Italian cheese. Parmigianno Regiano is its real name. They are both matured and aged in Northern Italy, Grana Padano is a bit more granular, more nutty, less salty and less fat than Parmigiano which is made with a mix of whole and skimmed milk while the Grana Padano’s process uses only skimmed milk.
We had a practical session at ‘La cucina Caldesi’ with Giancarlo the owner.
It was very Italian, lively, enjoyable and delicious.
A few recipes and glasses of wine later I am so planning to visit Daniela and her ‘Prociutto crudo’ world in October
Grana Padano and prosciutto fritters (makes approximately 25 balls)
For the fritters :
- 100g of Grana Padano cheese, grated
- 100g prosciutto di San Daniele thinly sliced and chopped
- 1 egg
- A pinch of black pepper
For frying :
- Sunflower oil
- 100g flour for dredging
- 2 eggs
- 150g bread crumbs
Put all the fritters ingredients in a bowl and mix well to form a dough. The mixture should be soft but not wet. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more egg, if too soft, add extra Grana Padano cheese.
Form the mixture into small balls approximately 2cm in size.
Heat the oil in a large pan or a deep fat fryer to 160°C
To test if it’s hot enough, drop a small piece of bread into the oil, if it quickly becomes golden and bubbles then the oil is at the correct temperature.
Beat the egg in a bowl. Put the flour into another bowl and breadcrumbs in a third bowl. Dip each ball first into flour and then in the egg. Finally roll them in the breadcrumbs to coat.
Deep fry the balls until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minute. Drain them on kitchen paper. Serve hot or at room temperature, with a spicy tomato sauce for dipping.
For the spicy tomato sauce :
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 1-2 fresh red chillies (depends on your taste) seeded and roughly chopped
- 2x400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Salt and black pepper
Heat the olive oil in pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until soft. Add the chili and fry for 1 minute.
Season generously with salt and pepper and mix well. Add the tomatoes and garlic.
Simmer for 30-40 min uncovered, until the sauce is reduced. Taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.