As many of you know, I often post these video recipes on YouTube well before I get around to writing the post, and this roasted asparagus with prosciutto and poached egg is no exception.
One advantage of this modus operandi is that the initial comments I get will often help shape the blog post's theme. This time the controversy revolved around the wisdom of cooking prosciutto. I knew this was going to come up, and even joked about it in the video (parental warning: I used the word, "ass").
Even though I acknowledged the fact that cooking prosciutto is very much frowned upon, and that this was done using scraps from the shank end of the ham, I still was viciously attacked.
First of all, there are exceptions to this no-cook rule, even in Italy. Saltimbocca is a classic dish that features veal cooked with prosciutto and sage, and I've seen more than one Italian chef use cooked prosciutto in things like frittatas and salads.
The opponents of cooking prosciutto point to these main issues: Prosciutto gets intensely salty when cooked, it smells less than appetizing, and it's basically a waste of good pork to eat it any other way than thinly sliced in its natural state.
I basically agree with all of that. Frying prosciutto isn’t a great smelling food, but the taste doesn't match this "wet pork" aroma, and is actually quite mild and pleasant to my palette. Besides, where are these people when broccoli is being cooked? That doesn't smell like freshly cut flowers either.
Yes, cooking prosciutto does make it salty, which is why I didn't use any salt in the dish. Anchovies are unbearably salty too, unless used properly. Finally, I LOVE traditional sliced prosciutto, and agree that's the best way to enjoy, but that doesn't make this wrong. I think fresh raw oysters are the best, but once in a while I want Oyster Rockefeller.