A fall favorite is the savory radicchio and prosciutto crostini topped with sweet syrupy sapa. This is a great example of balancing flavors: the fat of the prosciutto will cut the bitterness of the radicchio, while the sweet component, sapa will round out the flavor. To achieve a balanced result - all three ingredients should be in balance not tasting one single ingredient but a rich flavorful bite. Sapa is a has been used since Ancient Roman cuisine and is made by slowly reducing grape must in large kettles until it had been reduced by one-third. Sapa is common used in Italy, especially in Le Marche, Emilia Romagna and Sardinia, where it's considered among the traditional flavors of fall.
Our friend Marco has a vineyard and make his own wine (lacrima). He recently gave us a bottle of his homemade sapa - its dark syrupy sweetness is topping everything from crositini to fish, fruit and gelato!
Crostini of Radicchio, Prosciutto and Sapa
Head of radicchio
clove of garlic
2-3 slices of pancetta, prosciutto, bacon, speck - whatever fatty component you want.
spoonful of sapa - grape must or if unavailable, you can you balsamic vinegar with a tiny bit of honey
salt & pepper
1-2 glugs of olive oil
optional - few slices of soft cheese - we use sheep's milk (pecorino)
In a pan, heat the olive oil on low heat, add in the clove of garlic. Cook until lightly brown on all sides.
Turn up the heat, rough chop your head of radicchio, removing the core and cook down for a couple of minutes until the radicchio wilts.
Turn the heat down, chop up your prosciutto or bacon and add to the pan. You want to render the fat of this slowly - if you have the heat too high, the pork will crisp up & become chewy - you don’t want this with the soft radicchio.
Allow to cook until most of the moisture in the pan has cooked out. The radicchio & pork should still be soft. Season with salt & pepper. Remove the clove of garlic and drizzle over the sapa or balsamic & honey mixture. Check your seasonings.
Toast the bread, top with a slice of pecorino then a spoonful of the mixture and serve immediately. Goes great with a glass of red wine.