Truffle Cheese and Prosciutto di San Daniele

Saturday was cold and snowy — a perfect day for cooking.  Our friends from New Jersey were not going to make it through the storm to our home, so I was free to make whatever  I pleased, my favorite way to cook.  No recipes, no limits.

I took a survey of the contents of the refrigerator and found a large piece of Tufino, a semi-firm cheese made from a blend of cow and sheep’s milk studded with nuggets of black truffles.  We had enjoyed slicing and eating it, but now I decided to try it cooked and an omelet seemed like the perfect test.

Truffled Cow and Sheep's Milk Cheese from Le Marche

I whisked 2 eggs with a spoonful of milk and some salt and poured them into a hot skillet where a puddle of sweet butter was sizzling.  Once the eggs had firmed up a little, I placed a row of thinly sliced Tufino down the center and folded the two sides over the cheese.  A minute or so later, the cheese was oozing out the ends.  Tufino is a fine melter!  I rolled  the omelet onto the plate, buttered some ciabatta toast, and dug in.  Butter, eggs, cheese, truffles and crunch — who cares if it snows all day!

Lunchtime came and the Tufino was still on my mind.  I knew it would make a fantastic toasted sandwich, but maybe it needed something else.

I had just received a gift of several packages of pre-sliced Prosciutto di San Daniele.  The innovative packaging kept the perfectly sliced prosciutto tender and flavorful and easy to separate.  When opened, the sweet, mellow and meaty aroma of prosciutto filled the air.  I tasted a slice.  It melted in my mouth with a mild, nutty, and sweet salty flavor.  I had to make the sandwiches fast before I ate up the whole contents of the package of prosciutto.

I spread some white bread with softened butter on one side as my reliable old Happy Day Griddle Grill heated on the stove.  I sandwiched  the cheese and prosciutto between two slices of bread and placed them on the grill side with a heavy pot cover on top.  They were toasted and ready to flip in just a few minutes.  I turned them and gave them a a couple of minutes more until I saw the cheese beginning to seep out the sides.  A few pieces of giardiniera to garnish the plate, and we were ready to eat.   The panini tasted as good as they look, which is awfully good!   I could see serving them cut into quarters at a party with some chilled prosecco.

Prosciutto di San Daniele

Prosciutto di San Daniele

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    • Michele Scicolone