stone wall detail

I have been looking a lot of the dry stone walls that abound around here lately. I admire the skill that is put into it, well really I should say was put into it because I never see any new ones around, only old ones. They are used to terrace the sloping olive tree fields and as you can see, also next to roads, sometimes high like in the photo, sometimes lower. And never really straight, curving and bending like a row of bellies, some flat, some not so flat and some positively pregnant. These beautiful walls are alive, not only with movement but with real life: plants, moss, lizards and bird’s nests; they really fill a function that the cemented walls can ever substitute.

road and muschio

Ever since we moved here I have loved these walls, I never tire of getting really close and to look at all the small plants growing there, in the Spring it positively explodes with poppies growing on them and you can hear the hatched baby birds tweeting in the nests in it. Even now there are plants growing and in the peak of winter, you are always happy to see the soft, vividly green moss.

two stone walls

But the reason for me writing here today is not to sing the praise of dry stone walls but to post my Paper Chef entry, sometimes I know I come up with PC entries that you really don’t feel like making for today’s dinner but that is what happen when you have to include four ingredients that not always are easy to combine. But this is not the case this month, I just have to say that I am really happy with my entry because it is really tasty and easy to make.

Saffron Breaded Ham With a Mustard Seed, Thyme and Pecorino Filling

This month Mikey came up with the idea of making a special Christmas edition with a special ingredient list and the four ingredients that Jenny from the blog I could even eat a baby deer!, the Judge this month, and who got to draw and decide the four ingredients, mustard, thyme, saffron and ham, have a nice Christmas feel to them. My entry is breaded ham slices with saffron in the bread coating that gives the coating a nice, subtle flavour and it is filled with a tasty mustard seed, thyme and pecorino cheese filling, it is a dish that can be served on your Christmas dinner table but also during the rest of the year. I choose to use it in a sandwich with a mixed green salad, the perfect lunch actually.

Saffron Breaded Ham With a Mustard Seed, Thyme and Pecorino Filling

2 servings

4 thin slices of ham, raw obviously, not cooked and preferably with a reasonable amount of fat attached to it
1 large egg
6-8 tblsp breadcrumbs
0,5 g/0,017 oz saffron in powder
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds, lightly crushed
2 tblsp chives, finely chopped
1-2 tsp fresh thyme
2-3 tbslp pecorino cheese, freshly grated
2 tblsp white wine
extra-virgin olive oil

– Mix mustard seeds, chives, thyme, pecorino and white wine. Leave as it is for 10-15 minutes.
– Now you mix the breadcrumbs with saffron in a shallow dish. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look yellow, it is there and you will both see and taste it after frying the meat.
– Spoon the mustard mix onto the two of the ham slices but leave some empty space around the edges.
– Put the remaining slices on top of the filled slices and press down the edges so that they stay together.
– Whisk the egg and then dip the now double slices on both sides in it.
– Now dip the slices in the breadcrumbs, patting them down so that the crumbs cover the meat on both sides.
– Fry on medium-low heat in some olive oil and serve with a green salad.

Saffron Breaded Ham With a Mustard Seed, Thyme and Pecorino Filling

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