Monday, 5 August 2013

Just Bite Me!

Merendine di Pane Tostato con Fichi, Pecorino, Prosciutto & Crescione
Toasted Fig, Goat Cheese, Black-Forest Ham & Cress Snacks

If food could talk- well, yes- this is what these little snacks would be saying to you! And be honest now- would you be able to resist them? Haha- I didn't think so! What a treat these turned out to be this evening, when it was just too hot to be cooking anything. I decided a snack would have to do... little did I know that it would turn out to be so much better than I could have possibly dreamed!

Yes, I could have just made a sandwich... and yes I could have fixed a salad if I didn't want to cook- but being as I only eat one meal a day (I only eat fruit and drink tea during the day), I wanted my evening meal/snack to be a little bit more fun at least! Well it turned out to be fun, easy, elegant and a whole lot more! And best of all it was very, very quick to make! (and almost as quick to eat!)

I made all of these lovely snacks out of just 2 rye bread rolls, 1 fig, a little crumbly goat cheese, some black forest ham and a little cress for a hint more freshness and color. A drizzle of honey added a little extra depth of flavor- but there was so much going on with the smokey, salty ham, the sweet fresh fig, the crumble salty cheese and the peppery tasting cress, that I was glad that I practiced restrain and held-off on any other seasonings- it was perfect just as it was!

These were very easy to make. The first thing I did was the cut the rolls in half and the to cut each half in two again. This made them a much more handy shape to bite into- imagine these being served as appetizers at a party- they would be excellently suited to that. Next, I cut the fig in half, cut the halves into quarters and then the quarters into eighths. Now, those are not huge, thick pieces of fig- but plenty big enough to give the right amount of sweetness to these otherwise very savory snacks. As with most of my dishes- a little goes a long way!

I placed each of the 8 slices of fig at the ends of each 8 pieces of bread and wrapped a slice of ham around it tightly to keep it in place. I used Black Forest ham, as that just happened to be what I had at home, but any other thinly sliced, lean ham you may prefer would be fine too. I had thought about using a cocktail stick to hold things in place, but I found that pulling the ham nice and tightly and then patting it down in place, or tucking the edges in worked just fine- especially as it will shrink when it gets hot and tighten up all be itself.

I wrapped them all up and popped them into a dry non-stick pan, turned the heat up high and let the ham sizzle and the bread lightly toast from beneath, then transferred them to a tray and popped them into the oven, under the broiler, for 3-4 minutes until the bread became toasty and the ham became crispy and delicious.

I let them cool off for 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese as I didn't want it to melt- I wanted to have a nice contrast in flavor and texture. I crumbled the cheese and spooned it onto the adjacent side from the ham and fig, the sprinkled each one with a little water cress. The finishing touch was just a slight trickle of honey to the cheese and cress and as soon as I had added that- well of course there was no further reason to postpone tasting them... and oh wow! Were they ever delicious?!?! But don't take my word for it- they were so easy to make, you may as well go ahead and find out for yourselves!

But don't be surprised if you still hear me saying "I told you so" afterwards ;-) Enjoy!

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