General Discussion

cooking prosciutto -- and other horrible food tragedies (or not?)


General Discussion 9

cooking prosciutto -- and other horrible food tragedies (or not?)

alkapal | Aug 6, 2009 04:01 AM

i've noticed two distinct camps regarding cooking or heating prosciutto:

1. the "lidia" camp, et al. (the "traditionalists-purists") -- never cook prosciutto. it is a sin. it destroys the delicate texture and flavors. prosciutto should be respected -- revered even -- as it is in its country of origin. this reverence is appropriate, especially when the pristine original is so fabulous that many seek to imitate it. why mess with a good thing? why squander the nuances that have taken generations to perfect?

2. the "everyday food" camp, et al. (the "fusion-innovators") -- use prosciutto like a lean unsmoked bacon, to wrap things in for flavor, like grilled pork chops, or figs in the oven, on a pizza, or wherever you'd like bacon, or a nice pork touch. to heck with the purists, we eat food we like, and use it in ways that taste good. simple.

personally, i love prosciutto, and appreciate its delicacy. i also like to use "traditional" foods in different ways that taste good to me. so, i'm gonna keep a foot in both camps, i guess.
but the idea of two camps, the traditionalists-purists vs. the fusion-innovators, applies in other ways, too. one that comes to mind is heating parmesan (e.g., lidia says cooking the cheese changes its flavor, and always turns off the heat of her pasta once she's added the cheese. maybe this is only for the pasta cooked on the stove?). or eating cheese with seafood. or adding "new" ingredients to guacamole. putting olive oil on bruschetta before it is grilled (lidia, "no"!). i'm sure you'll think of many, many more.

do you find that the "traditionalists-purists" tend to be from -- or otherwise strongly linked to -- the "country of origin" of the product or dish? <i know i'm like that with key lime pie and the original pastry crusts. i don't "approve" of graham cracker crusts. ;-)>

do "fusion-innovators" miss the unique qualities of the food item they "adopt" and thus degrade the ingredient's special qualities that set it apart from the mundane?

what ingredients and dishes do you think exemplify this split?

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