Hand on heart, I’ve never seen so many hams in my life, even at a rugby international. Wall to wall and floor to ceiling, the curing rooms at Salumificio Viani were ham-packed. (Sorry.)
It’s a colossal investment – and yes, I did check whether they have back-up generators in case of a power cut.
I’ll write more about my visit to their production facility in a later post but suffice to say they are a family business in San Gimignano near Siena, making a vast range of meaty delicacies, of which the star of the show is denomination-controlled Prosciutto Toscano.
The family were kind enough to give me some to bring home from my recent press trip to Tuscany. This is one of the dishes I made … so quick, so easy and so very delicious.
Cod Wrapped in Prosciutto with Asparagus
2 cod loins (thick fillets), skinned
2-3 tbs basil pesto
4-6 slices of prosciutto
About 300g asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1 tbsp olive oil (Tuscan, naturally)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Toss the asparagus with the oil and season with pepper and a little salt.
Lay two or three slices of prosciutto (depends how big they are) flat on a work surface, overlapping them slightly. Put a cod loin in the middle and spread its top with a tablespoon of pesto. Wrap the ham around the fish and repeat with the second cod loin. You don’t need to salt the fish as the ham will do the job for you.
Brush with a scrap of oil, place on top of the asparagus and roast in the oven for 15-18 minutes. The cod should be cooked but pearly and the asparagus tender-crisp. If the asparagus spears are very fat and aren’t done enough, remove the fish parcels and keep the warm and give the asparagus a few more minutes in the oven.
Then eat and enjoy. This is very good with baby new potatoes or simply some decent bread, perhaps ciabatta.