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Innovative Ideas for Presenting Prosciutto

Any party worth attending includes assorted foods to satisfy guests, varying from bite-sized canapés to entire meals if the event’s focus is food. Whether you’re hosting a game night or a dinner party, some ingredients fit right in and can be prepared in countless ways.

Prosciutto is one such versatile item you’ll want to keep stocked when planning your next party. This type of cured ham offers a rich and salty taste with a smooth consistency and chewy bite. Arguably, the best you can get is Italy’s Prosciutto di Parma, produced from the hind legs of specially fed pigs with the meat cured following traditional methods dating back centuries. Nevertheless, you can pick up other versions of prosciutto made elsewhere in Italy, Europe, and the U.S.

Sure, you could carefully place slices of prosciutto on a charcuterie board, but where’s the fun in that? If you want to add an element of pizzazz to your next party spread, we’ve gathered a selection of creative ways to serve prosciutto. From visually appealing bites to sweet and salty combos, there are plenty of ideas to satisfy your needs. You might even want to pick up an extra pack to make a few of these dishes and truly savor this delicious cured pork product. 

1. Make charcuterie roses with prosciutto

prosciutto rosette with berries

platterstoatee / Instagram

You should never compromise on flavor in an attempt to make your food more aesthetically pleasing, but if you can do both, then why not have food that looks good and tastes great, too? Prosciutto is fairly malleable as far as cured meat goes, and the long slices offer some leeway to shape them as you please. 

While you can experiment with all sorts of designs, prosciutto roses are simple enough and definitely stand out. To emphasize the floral effect, plate them with herbs to mimic greenery. You could also thread the base of the roses onto a skewer or secure them to a slice of bread with a layer of cream cheese.

Make the roses one at a time, leaving the prosciutto on the plastic or paper sheet that separates the slices within the package. To maximize the bulk of the flower, cut the slice lengthwise along the center almost to the end. Then, start rolling one cut end along the length of the slice, before reaching the still-joined end and continuing to roll up the other side of the slice. Pinch the bottom of the rose to let the petals fan out, then place it on a plate or board as you prep the next charcuterie flower. Another method to create roses calls for loosely twisting the prosciutto into a long tubular shape. Then, roll the tube around itself to create a rose.

2. Serve prosciutto with fresh fruit

prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe slices

If you’re on board with combining sweet and savory flavors, then serving prosciutto with fruit is a no-brainer. The salty cured pork makes the perfect counterpart for the juicy sweetness of fresh fruit. Choose ripe fruit to ensure that it contains a good amount of sugar to balance out the salty meat. While you can mix and match fruits and prosciutto based on your personal preferences, soft ripe fruit offers an excellent complement to the chewy cured meat.

A classic pairing like prosciutto and melon highlights this fact, showcasing cantaloupe draped or wrapped with prosciutto slices. This Italian favorite stems from the ancient Roman custom of eating cured meat with fruit to strengthen immune system functions. This dazzling dish is super easy to make, and can be further enhanced with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or by adding fresh basil leaves.

Other delicious fruit matches for pairing with prosciutto include stone fruits; everything from peaches and nectarines to plums and apricots would taste delicious wrapped or layered with prosciutto. Stack slices on a crostini, or alternate ingredients on a skewer for a delectable treat. For a slightly more complex preparation, make prosciutto wrapped pears by first tossing the sliced fruit with maple syrup and pepper. Wrap the coated pears with prosciutto before baking the bundles a bit to crisp the meat.

3. Wrap prosciutto around breadsticks

prosciutto-wrapped grissini breadsticks

The combination of cured meat and bread is no secret, and prosciutto paired with starchy carbs is a definite win. Skip the pillowy loaf or the crusty baguette and opt for packaged breadsticks for an easy hosting fix. Instead of the soft and tearable breadstick variety typical of a certain Italian-American dining chain, get the crunchy cracker variety. Also known as grissini in Italian, it doesn’t get much easier than opening a package of crispy breadsticks and serving them with thinly sliced prosciutto.

You can keep it simple and serve the two side-by-side, or try wrapping skinny breadsticks with a slice of prosciutto. Brush the grissini with melted compound butter first if desired, or keep it simple with only the salty cured meat. For a warmer take, wrap the breadsticks and broil them briefly to crisp up the meat. The result is a fun dish to add to your spread that requires just one hand to munch with, while the other can hold a drink.

Perfect for a cocktail party or an occasion when people are standing, this meaty treat is just as welcome at the dinner table. Using a pre-packaged breadstick variety is a time-saver when entertaining, but you could also try making a garlic and herb breadsticks recipe from scratch. It’s sure to impress your guests, and it’s straightforward if you have a stand mixer.

4. Add prosciutto chips to salads

endive salad with prosciutto chips

hostaria_ / Instagram

If you love adding bacon bits to your salads, prosciutto chips should be the next garnish you pick. They’re super easy to make and can be customized depending on the level of crunch and ratio of prosciutto desired. Just transfer prosciutto slices to a lined sheet pan and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. Once you take them out, they will crisp up as they cool down. Then, crumble the slices or leave them in larger pieces before sprinkling them over a salad.

Keep it classic by pairing prosciutto crisps with a Caesar salad, or switch it up by serving them with a mixed green salad. Fresh mozzarella and chunks of sweet fruit balance the meat’s salty umami notes, bringing everything together seamlessly. Use a creamy dressing or add a splash of tangy vinegar for maximum contrast. No dinner party guests will complain about a boring salad if you top it with crunchy prosciutto bits.

5. Make prosciutto cups

prosciutto cups on board

stella_grove_personal_chef / Instagram

Party food deserves to be more festive than everyday fare, and a great way to do that is by making unexpected edible items. If you’re used to serving some foods in tiny bowls or oversized spoons, you’ll want to try prosciutto cups for a salty twist. For more of a bite-sized treat, use a mini muffin pan to prepare these canapés.

Cut prosciutto slices in half and press them into the bottom of each muffin-tin cup, making sure they are properly layered to avoid any holes. Bake them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, until they crisp up and are firm enough to stand on their own. Then, fill the cups with whatever your heart desires. 

Whipped goat cheese with chives is one delicious option, or stuff them with fresh figs, ricotta, and a balsamic drizzle. You can even use eggs if hosting a breakfast party. If using mozzarella or another meltable cheese, just pop the cups back in the oven for a quick broil until the cheese is gooey.

6. Add prosciutto to skewers

cantaloupe and prosciutto shrimp skewers

outerbankspersonalchef / Instagram

Skewers are great when hosting a party, since people can enjoy multiple flavors on one portable spear. They’re also endlessly customizable and can mostly be made ahead of time, leaving you to relax and actually spend time with your guests. Prosciutto’s malleability makes it a great protein to squish onto a skewer. Either fold it up nicely and poke it through a skewer, or scrunch it for a ruffled aesthetic.

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The pairing options are vast when you start with a versatile cured meat like prosciutto. Try making sweet and savory charcuterie skewers by poking a slice of prosciutto, Gruyère, apple, and crostini onto a wooden stick, finishing with a drizzle of honey to contrast the saltiness. Mozzarella balls are an obvious match, and you can add flavor by marinating them in an herb vinaigrette beforehand. Consider using skewers when pairing prosciutto with stone fruit, cantaloupe, and other juicy options for a mess-free delight.

7. Top pizzas and flatbreads with prosciutto

prosciutto arugula pizza on table

A pizza party is arguably the best kind of party, and prosciutto is certainly welcome at this kind of event. If you’re hosting a make-your-own-pizza night, be sure to have plenty of sliced prosciutto available to layer over the pies. Either place it under the cheese so that the cured meat gets a bit crispy and topped with melted goodness, or else add it right before serving. If you’re not going all-out with custom pizzas, whip up a few flatbreads and add sliced prosciutto for a salty touch.

Prosciutto pairs wonderfully with cheese, as well as other cured meats like salami. While it works with tomato sauce, you might want to skip the red sauce to let the meat stand out. Smear the dough with creamy ricotta cheese and top the pie with sliced nectarines, prosciutto, and fresh arugula for a sweet and savory Italian salad pizza. Alternatively, keep it extra simple and skip the process of making homemade dough by instead preparing a French bread white pizza recipe topped with red onions, prosciutto, and arugula. 

8. Wrap dates and figs in prosciutto

prosciutto-wrapped cheese-stuffed figs

Prosciutto’s salty umami taste makes it such a great match for sweet ingredients. As far as fruit goes, it doesn’t get much sweeter than dried varieties. Pick up a box of dates and wrap a halved slice of prosciutto around each one. Leave it at that or bake them to soften the dates and crisp up the prosciutto. A smear of goat cheese stuffed into the date would add another pop of flavor, though you might want to use a toothpick to seal the prosciutto-wrapped contents.

Similarly, wrap dried figs or apricots with prosciutto to give the cured meat a candied note. Fresh figs work wonders too, and they can easily hold other ingredients if you want to add cheese. A tangy drizzle of balsamic vinegar is the perfect element to tie all the flavors together, or if you doubled down on saltiness with your cheese of choice, then try adding a sweetening element like honey or maple syrup.

9. Make vegetable bundles

prosciutto-wrapped asparagus

Whether or not you’re a fan of vegetables, it’s hard to argue that wrapping them in meat adds a certain gourmet touch. A long slice of prosciutto is the perfect ingredient to hold a bunch of vegetables together. While it won’t work so well with broccoli or cauliflower florets, any spear-like vegetable can benefit from this presentation.

For example, collect a few pieces of asparagus or green beans and wrap them together with a slice of prosciutto for a salty twist. Depending on the texture you’re looking for, you could steam or roast the veggies first, before wrapping them in a fresh slice of prosciutto. Alternatively, leave them raw and bake the wrapped veggies in the oven until they are tender and the prosciutto is lightly crispy.

You could also skip the oven and stovetop entirely and stuff rolled prosciutto with arugula to make a salad bundle. Get some arugula leaves and mixed herbs if desired, then wrap them with a slice of prosciutto. A drizzle of olive oil or balsamic rounds out the flavors, making this an elegant bite to serve at your next party.

10. Combine prosciutto with puff pastry

puff pastry square with prosciutto

Puff pastry has a way of making everything taste infinitely more luxurious, and that goes for prosciutto too. Pair the cured meat with a flaky buttery pastry and you’ll have the ultimate party treat. The infinite variety of recipes you can concoct is part of the appeal of puff pastry, and the taste and texture certainly don’t disappoint. You can switch up the shape and size of the pastry to create individual bite-sized treats or something more shareable.

If you’re looking for a centerpiece for your table, then roll out a large piece of puff pastry, spread some ricotta over the surface, and layer on the prosciutto before baking it to a golden crisp. For single-serving options, you can’t go wrong with puffed pastry muffuletta pinwheels or cream cheese and prosciutto pinwheels. Whether you’re loading up on cured meats or countering the savory notes with a rich and creamy dairy option, it’s sure to be delicious. Of course, you can highlight any other combination too, such as by pairing prosciutto with a slice of fresh fruit.

11. Garnish crostini with prosciutto

prosciutto cheese crostini with wine

Crostini is a popular party food, in no small part due to the customizability and bite-sized nature of this finger food. There are plenty of ways to garnish crostini, whether you’re starting with crispy slices of baguette or opting for thin wafers. For a delicate option, keep it extra simple by sticking with a light cracker and a paper-thin slice of prosciutto.

If you want to boost the flavor profile, cheese is the answer. Burrata, cream cheese, goat cheese, ricotta, and even Parmesan make excellent pairings with prosciutto. Smear or slice the cheese to top the crostini, then fold a piece of prosciutto and stack it on top. You might need to cut the slices of meat in half, but no one will complain about a towering crostini. 

A drizzle of balsamic glaze or honey makes an excellent complement to the savory flavors, tying the components of the crostini into tasty bites. And of course, a thin slice of peach or fig would add just the right juicy touch.

12. Use prosciutto to wrap seafood

prosciutto wrapped shrimp on plate

ourheritageworks / Instagram

If you’re a fan of bacon-wrapped seafood, prosciutto brings a sophisticated twist to this combo. Options like shrimp and scallops have a juicy and meaty texture with a subtly sweet taste. Plus, their bite-size format makes them a great option to serve at a party, especially if you’re not hosting an elaborate sit-down affair. Unless you’re using jumbo shrimp or scallops, you’ll probably want to cut the prosciutto slices before wrapping the shellfish.

For extra texture, bake the raw seafood wrapped in prosciutto so it crisps up in the oven while the shrimp or scallops cook. To prevent the seafood from drying out, brush the pieces with melted butter; garlic butter provides even more flavor in each bite. To ensure that the prosciutto remains in place, you’ll want to secure each piece with a toothpick before baking. However, once it’s crispy and cooked, you should be able to remove the toothpicks for serving if desired.

13. Make a cheese and prosciutto bread boat

person eating prosciutto cheese boat

followyourbelly / Instagram

Prosciutto, cheese, and bread are a timeless trio, but you don’t have to resort to a sandwich or crostini to highlight this delicious match. Entertaining is all about finding delicious and dazzling dishes to serve, and a bread boat certainly checks those boxes. To create this gourmet concoction, pick up a round loaf of bread. Cut out a circle from the center, removing some of the soft doughy interior. Then, pop a Brie or camembert round into the hole.

Next, cut some slits around the cheese and stuff them with small slices of prosciutto, leaving a bit of meat poking out. Bake the whole thing until the cheese is melted and gooey and the prosciutto has crisped up. Use bread slices to scoop out the cheese before tackling the bread boat itself. This might not be the most mess-free option, but the presentation is impressive and it will undoubtedly be a hit.

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