Eli’s in Manhattan and it’s sister store, The Vinegar Factory, are a couple of my favorite upscale food haunts. I treat them as tourist destinations when entertaining out of towners.
Eli Zabar, aside from being a really great guy, is always on the cutting edge of fine food trends. Across the street from the Vinegar Factory is his bakery where numerous types of delightful breads and pastries are baked daily, including the lovely & tasty mini brioche. Above the bakery, using the heat from it, is a green house where he grows heirloom tomatoes, herbs, baby and micro greens, among other delectables.
I was shopping at Eli’s for a TV commercial for which I was hired to food style . I was drawn to a beautiful dome shaped cake of creamy sheep’s milk ricotta perched on a glass pedestal in his exotic and extensive cheese department. Sheep’s milk, like goat’s milk, is easier to digest than cow’s milk, due to their lower lactose content, about half. Sheep’s milk has nearly twice the fat as goat and cow’s milk, making a really creamy and smooth ricotta. Eli’s makes their own. I was compelled to buy a small portion for a taste. It was phenomenal.
Prosciutto di Parma is another of my favorite Italian treats. It is often coupled with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil on panini, which is Italian for small breads. Although I don’t usually indulge in pork products because of their high triglyceride content, I occasionally make an exception for prosciutto because it is exquisite.
I felt inspired to come up with an unbelievable tiny treat to satisfy my sheep’s ricotta and prosciutto lust. Mini Brioche with Prosciutto, Ricotta, Tomatoes and Basil.
Photo by David Bishop
Mini Brioche with Prosciutto, Ricotta, Tomatoes & Basil
- 8 Mini Brioche Buns~ 1 1/2 inch diameter
- 1/2 lb. Sheep’s Milk Ricotta
- 1/4 lb. of Prosciutto di Parma
- 3 Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced thinly. I use three colors for beauty
- 16-18 Baby Basil Leaves
- 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- Slice buns horizontally
- Drizzle the inside of both halves of each roll with olive oil
- Evenly divide and smear ricotta onto 8 bottom buns
- Lay three half slices of tomatoes onto ricotta layer of each bun. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.
- Layer prosciutto and basil leaves onto tomatoes. Top with bun tops
Enjoy with Prosecco