Dr. O and I usually celebrate Valentine’s Day in rather than going out. (Our first date “anniversary” is always the same week, so we avoid the crowds and go out then instead.) I usually try to make something pretty special, though, and this year was no exception. Today, we’ll start with the appetizer: Pear and Prosciutto “Carpaccio” from the January/February 2008 issue of Everyday Food.
The dish is visually impressive and very delicious, but also very quick and simple. I started by boiling 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it was reduced to about 2 tablespoons, stirring occasionally. This took about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, I cored, halved, and thinly sliced one red pear and divided the slices between two plates. I added 1 ounce (2 slices) of paper-thin prosciutto to each plate. When the balsamic vinegar had been sufficiently reduced, I drizzled it over the prosciutto and pear and then seasoned with freshly ground pepper.
Mmmmm. This was really, really good. I had to laugh… Dr. O had no idea what he was eating, but he thought it was “the best apple he’d ever tasted.” The fact that it was actually a pear may have had something to do with it. 🙂 I think this dish would be *perfect* for a dinner party, and I look forward to making it again.
TIPS: You can find prosciutto in the deli case at most grocery stores. It’s basically just dry-cured ham. I went all out and bought some prosciutto di Parma (expensive, but I only needed 2 ounces for the recipe), which was absolutely heavenly. I just asked the deli gal to slice it as thinly as possible.
The recipe doesn’t say anything about covering the balsamic vinegar while you reduce it, but DO. When it really starts to reduce, each little bubble that bursts is like a balsamic vinegar bomb and the mess potential is major. Put a lid on the pot but leave it slightly off-kilter so the steam can escape. Instead of taking the lid off to stir, I periodically picked up my pot by the handle and swirled the mixture with the lid still in place.
Recipe link: Pear and Prosciutto “Carpaccio”