One of the great difficulties which the travelling gourmet suffers from, is that certain victuals are called differently in every new land he enters. Take, for instance, this funny bird:
No matter what your native language may be, this piece of poultry will be designated with a word which has nothing to do with its name elsewhere on the globe. To offer you only the examples from those languages Alfred B Mittington speaks fluently, compare:
Dinde or Dindonneau (French)
Pujko or Pulyko (Hungarian)
And of course
Which is funny, since in Turkey, the bird is called
While - yes, you guessed it !!! - in Hindi, the cackling ugly duckling is known as a
टर्की (say: Ṭarkī)
Go figure these folks out!!!
To what, you may ask, do we owe this fascinating linguistic introduction to a simple recipe, Alfred?? Well, I elaborated a little, dear reader, because I am faced with the very same dilemma when it comes to my main ingredient. What I want you to use as a base for the following delicious dish (a ‘Chronos Recipe’ if ever you saw one) is a white dairy substance somewhat thicker than yoghurt, somewhat thinner than chevre, not as greasy as butter yet a little fatter than sour cream … You surely know what I have in mind… And yet I bet you could not come up with its name except in your own language either! Me, personally, I always refer to it as fromage blanc, since I owe my mother’s tongue to my dear departed mother, and my gourmet skills to Pépère Géronime, whom the innocent, harmless world, to tell you the honest truth, is better off without… (see here for some aspects of the fine gentleman’s personality…)
So there. Of that stuff, then, you will need a fair bowl of about 250 grams for four marvellous ham rolls with a most aromatic filling.
What else do we need? Well, these are the other ingredients:
4 large, thin slices of ham (boiled or smoked)
1 hard boiled egg
1 tiny onion, or half a larger one
a handful of fresh chives
a spoonful of capers
a little salt and white pepper and mustard
Chop the egg, the onion, the chives and the capers into very small pieces. Mix them in with the fromage blanc. Add the salt, pepper and mustard. Close the bowl, and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours.
Nota Bene: if the White Substance in your country is a little too thick, you can always add a fair spoonful or two of that most marvellous manna… Mayonnaise!
Next day, shortly before dinner, take out the slices of ham. Divide the aromatic stuffing over the four slices. Roll them up, and pin them closed, if necessary, with a toothpick.
If you have any chives left over, it is always a neat idea to put some of them in at one end, so that the greenery sticks out. This may also be done with fresh parsley, celery, or any mild fresh herb you fancy.
The ham rolls can be served alone, with a few pieces of French baguette, or with asparagus, or –bloody H… - with anything else you like. It should, however, be served as an entrée.
RELIGIOUS ALTERNATIVES: If you have no fresh chives available then use dill instead. And if you happen to be Jewish or Muslim, you may wish to try this recipe replacing the ham by slices of smoked salmon. But remember that nowadays salmon is a very unhealthy product, of which Nature has said it should not be eaten more often than once a month!