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“Ask Chef Walter”: Potato and Prosciutto Souffle – Walter Potenza

by Executive Chef Walter Potenza, contributing writer

Friends:

This unique appetizer combines basic mashed potatoes with the unexpected addition of prosciutto, which adds a delightful saltiness. The surprise element is the creamy Gorgonzola cheese at the center, making this an exquisite starter.

Potato + Prosciutto Souffle’ Recipe

Ingredients for six servings (individual ramekins)

Three tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to grease the soufflé dishes, plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus an additional 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter to brush soufflé tops (about 3/4 cup total)

1 cup dry bread crumbs, unseasoned

3 pounds of potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed well (Yukon Gold works well)

2/3 cup of warm whole milk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to preference

Two eggs plus one additional egg yolk

1/2 pound imported Italian Gorgonzola cheese, cut into eight equal pieces

Six slices of Parma prosciutto (half chopped and remaining left whole)

Paprika, to top soufflés, optional

Directions

Before you start, you should have a potato ricer or food mill and 8 (4-ounce) ramekins on hand.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then, remove the top oven rack and position a rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven.

2. Grease the ramekins using three tablespoons of butter and coat the inside of each dish with bread crumbs.

3. Place unpeeled potatoes in a pot of cold salted water, simmer over medium heat, and continue simmering for approximately 30 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain the potatoes, peel them carefully while still hot, cut them into large chunks, and then mash them by running them through a ricer or food mill.

4. mix the potatoes, 1/4 cup of butter, and warm milk in a large bowl. Season to taste, and beat in the eggs and egg yolk.

5. Proceed by filling each of the eight ramekins halfway with the potato mixture. Then, create an indentation in the potato layer and add the chopped prosciutto into the cavity. Fill the indentation with Gorgonzola cheese. Finally, divide the remaining potato mixture equally among the ramekins, mounding the mixture above the top of the dish.

6. Add a small amount of butter to each soufflé and the remaining prosciutto slices and dust with paprika. Place the soufflés on a baking sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Increase the temperature to 425 degrees F and continue baking for another 5 minutes until the prosciutto becomes crispy.

7. Remove the soufflés from the ramekins and serve hot.

Chef’s Note: Leaving the rind on the cheese is advisable. Use a butter wrapper or parchment paper to keep your hands clean while smearing the softened butter in the soufflé dishes. This technique is referred to as “chemise.” For a quick sauce, mince ¼ cup of Italian parsley leaves with two garlic cloves and extra virgin olive oil, and add a dash of salt to taste.

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Potato + Prosciutto Souffle’ {Image Attribution via Chef Walters Cooking School}

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