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  • Writer's pictureColleen Turner

You had me at Prosciutto

I owe this gem of a recipe to Andy Cunningham, my unofficial brother-in-law. Andy is a whiz in the kitchen and an amazing photographer (he took the black and white image of me on this site's home page).


Andy is not a Secino, but he might as well be! He is best friends with my husband Tom's brother Ricky and is loved by all of us, blood relation or not.


Perhaps my favorite thing about Andy is his biting wit. He is quick with the funniest of retorts and can always be counted on for the ubiquitous eye roll or laugh. Typical of a talented photographer, getting a picture of Andy is no easy feat. He prefers to be behind the lens versus in front.

Andy's self-portrait. I love the pop of color on his ring.


Longtime fans of Ogunquit, Maine, Andy and Ricky invested in a summer home some years back. I always look forward to his annual Barnacle Billy's Special Rum Punch photo! Here are several select images from over the years.

The perfect rum punch photo collage featuring images courtesy of volunteer drinker, Andy Cunningham. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!


Located in Perkin's Cove, the original Barnacle Billy's opened in 1961 (a fine year, as it happens to be the summer I was born) and boasts the most-delicious rum punch along with Maine coast staples like lobster, clams and chowder, to name a few.


Not familiar with this tasty potion? It is a secret concoction of pineapple and orange juices, a "slug" of dark rum (a little over 2 ounces) and simple syrup. Mix all well and pour over ice. Garnish with a slice of orange, pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry and a sprinkle of nutmeg...yes, nutmeg. These bad boys pack a mean punch (pun absolutely intended), so the limit is a hard three (you'll thank your server in the morning).


There's a sit-down restaurant nearby (Barnacle Billy's, Etc.), but at the original location, you still place your order at the counter, wait for your number to be called, and haul your tray to your table (thankfully, there are waitresses for drink service). It is quintessentially Maine.


Anyway, back to Andy and his gift for all things cooking. He has actually managed to master the perfect portion of pineapple-to-OJ mixture, dazzling one and all with a Barnacle Billy's Special Rum Punch at basically every family gathering.


He also dazzled me with this amazing gem of a dish. Cooked low and slow, the meat is delectable and the salty punch of the prosciutto really makes the taste buds sing. All I can say is, “Wow!” Moist, delicious and just about the best pork dish I’ve ever made.


Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin


1 3-4 lb. Center Cut (5-7 rib in size) boneless pork loin (trimmed)

10-12 slices of prosciutto

Twine for tying loin

Olive Oil

Salt & pepper


Heat oven to 225ºF.


Heat olive oil in cast iron pan until shimmering. Salt and pepper the trimmed loin on all sides. Place in pan and brown all sides (including top and bottom). You are not trying to cook the loin, you just want a nice golden sear. I also sear the cut-off fat, chain and sinew (and leave these in while in the oven; remove and discard before starting gravy).


Cool slightly, then wrap loin with prosciutto.


I place 3-4 pieces of twine on a plate…then overlap 4-5 slices of prosciutto (or as many as needed) to fit the length of the loin. Fold up, then overlap next 4-5 pieces over the top, tucking the bottom pieces in. The natural stickiness of the prosciutto should keep the loin well covered. Tie up your twine on top, then add one more string, tied lengthwise. You should end up with a nice little “wrapped” package. For ease of temp checking, leave the ends free of prosciutto.

Place wrapped meat back into cast iron pan or oven safe dish. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan (along with the saved fat, chain and sinew)…also feel free to add some sliced onion for a little added flavor in the pan gravy.


Cook approximately 1.5 hours on bottom rack or until internal temp is 145-150ºF. Turn broiler on for last five minutes to crisp up the prosciutto.


Tent with foil for 10 minutes, slice and serve with Basic Brown Gravy (recipe below).


Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon (beef flavor)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Red wine (use to your preference)

Pan drippings (from roast above)

1 quart beef broth (Salt-free from Kitchen Basics is good.)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Pinch of rosemary and/or thyme to taste, as well.


Preparation:

In pan with drippings from roast remove fat/sinew (leave cooked onions, if added). Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 mins. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is golden-brown. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in a cup of the beef broth, and then add the rest of the ingredients (including remainder of broth), except the salt and pepper/rosemary/thyme.


Bring to a simmer, whisking, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If too thick add water or more broth. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as well as rosemary and thyme.


Slice and serve with rice and a simple arugula salad with pickled red onion (recipe here) and shaved parmesan.


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