Ciabatta Toast with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pesto and Prosciutto

There are hundreds and hundreds of types of bread which differentiate depending on the baking method, shape, or additional ingredients. Bread often contains some kind of leavening agent like yeast or baking soda. Yeast is an ingredient that has multiple usages. Besides bread, you can find it in some alcoholic beverages, nutritional supplements, but also in non-alcoholic beverages.

When it comes to bread, bakers use something called "the baker's yeast". Bakers use it for bread and other bakery products as the leavening agent, for the dough to rise. Sugar or potato water (in which it was boiled) can help the growth of the yeast.

But, be sure not to use too much of it, because it can have the opposite effect. The growth of the yeast can be also slowed down or stopped by salt, butter, or eggs. When it comes to yeast, there are a lot of varieties like cream yeast, instant yeast, compressed yeast, rapid-rise yeast, or active dry yeast.

Some make bread from the straight dough, meaning that they combine all the ingredients at once. On the other hand, there is a pre-fermented method in which the leavening agent (alongside water) is left for a while to rise and then added to the other ingredients.

But, that is not all. Pre-fermentation can occur in three ways - pâte fermentée, poolish, and biga.

Pâte fermentée is a small portion of dough that you keep from the previously made bread.

Poolish is made from flour and water in a 50-50 ratio, measured by weight.

In the end, unlike poolish which has a loose texture, biga is stiffer with more flour than water.

So, taking into consideration all of the above-mentioned, we can conclude that making bread can be real art. However, it is not that difficult and with a little bit of time and love, anyone can master the art of bread-making. By using yeast, you can make different kinds of bagels, muffins, rolls, doughnuts, etc.

Ciabatta bread

Ciabatta bread is wheat flour bread that comes from Italy. It takes wheat flour, salt, water, yeast, and olive oil to make this tasty bread. It was introduced in 1982 by a baker in Verona called Francesco Favaron and the flour mill owner called Arnaldo Cavallari.

Actually, it was a response to the French baguettes that were becoming so popular they were threatening to ruin the baker businesses in Italy.

The restaurants were using the baguettes to make paninis - sandwiches with grilled bread. So they made a new type of bread and named it after the area Cavallari lived in - Polesine. So, the name of the bread was "ciabatta polesana".

The word "ciabatta" means "slipper" because it is long, rather wide, and somewhat flat, so it resembles slipper. The dough used for the ciabatta is very wet and it is usually made with biga. What this bread is known for are the alveolar holes inside. In the 1990s this type of bread became very popular worldwide and today Cavallari's company sold licenses for their ciabatta bread to 11 countries.

Ciabatta, whether fresh, grilled, or roasted, is used as a base in a lot of dishes today. And our recipe uses ciabatta bread as a base, alongside sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto ham.

Sun-dried tomatoes

As the name implies, these are the tomatoes that are dried in the sun. The tomatoes need to be ripe and pre-treated with salt (or sulfur dioxide) before they are exposed to the sun. They will stay under the influence of the sun for about four to 10 days before they are dried.

After this period, tomatoes will lose most of the water - cherry tomatoes lose about 88% of their weight and regular tomatoes lose up to 93% of their weight. So, in order to get about two pounds of dried tomatoes, you need 17 to 30 pounds of fresh tomatoes.

However, tomatoes keep their nutritional value. That means that even the dried version is full of vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, lycopene, and antioxidants. They also contain fiber. All of this helps heart health, decrease inflammation, and decrease the risk of cancer.

Sun-dried tomatoes can be kept in olive oil alongside basil, garlic, rosemary, or dried paprika. They are a part of many dishes like various salads, omelets, bread, pasta, risotto, soup, etc.

Prosciutto

Prosciutto Crudo (or Parma ham) is an Italian type of ham. It is dry-cured ham which is served uncooked and in thin slices. There is also a cooked ham called Prosciutto Cotto.

Prosciutto is similar to the Spanish ham called "Jamón Serrano". The name prosciutto comes from the Latin pro exsucare which means "extract the juices from".

This Italian ham is usually made from the pig's thigh or leg. The term prosciutto is used specifically for the pig or boar meat. But, if you want to use it for other types of meat, you need to emphasize it (for example, lamb prosciutto).

Drying the meat is a long process that could take from 9 months up to two years. It depends on the thickness of the meat, but also the climate of the surroundings. Usually, it takes about 18 to 20 months to clean it, press it, drain the blood, and then hang it to get dry.

Jamón serrano

Similarly to the prosciutto, jamón serrano is also dry-cured ham, but in Spanish cuisine. Comparing to the Italian version jamón serrano is a bit dryer, has a deeper color, and a bit stronger flavor. It is also traditionally made from the pig meat and it is served in thin slices.

Pesto sauce

This Italian pesto sauce is the main ingredient in a lot of pasta-based dishes. Its origins are in Genova, Italy. The traditional version of pesto sauce includes the following ingredients - basil, oil, garlic, pine nuts, and hard cheese. The ingredients are blended with olive oil.

To be precise, the recipe for the original "pesto alla Genovese" contains garlic, Ligurian extra virgin oil, coarse salt, European pine nuts, Genovese basil, and grated cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano, or Grana Padano and Pecorino Sardo).

Outside Italy, sometimes pine nuts are replaced by almonds, mint is added alongside basil, and sometimes tomato is added to the sauce (to make the "pesto Rosso" which has less basil and pine nuts replaced with almonds).

Word pesto comes from the verb "pestare" which means to crush (to beat, to pound) and it comes from the original recipe for making pesto sauce. The traditional way of making the sauce is by using a marble mortar and the wooden pestle. Outside Italy, pesto refers to the pesto sauce. But, in Italy, it is most commonly referred to as the food that is made by pounding.

Similar sauces were known in history before the pesto came to the scene, but those were the dishes without the basil. The basil was introduced in the 19th century, to be precise in 1863, by Giovanni Battista Ratto in his book "La Cuciniera Genovese".

ciabatta toast

Yields1 Serving

Ingredients for the ciabatta toast
 8 Slices of Ciabatta Bread
 3 tbsp Olive Oil
 8 Pieces of Sun-Dried Italian Tomatoes
 Fresh Basil
 1 Small Garlic Clove
 Fresh pinions
 8 Slices of Prosciutto di Parma Ham or Jamón Serrano
 3 oz Hard Parmesan Cheese
 Salt
 Pepper

1

Ciabatta toast is a perfect choice for breakfast. It is a delicious airy bread made with yeast. It is often used to make the famous panini sandwiches. I chose the ciabatta toast recipe with the pesto sauce, healthy sun-dried tomatoes, and dry-cured ham. You can always buy the pesto sauce, but, as always, it is way better and tastier when you make it at home. All you need is garlic, basil, oil, and pinions (pine nuts). Pesto is a great addition to many dishes that include various types of pasta. Besides pesto, I used the tomatoes in this dish, but the sun-dried version. It is very healthy, nutritious, and tasty.

ciabatta toast

Prepare the pesto sauce
2

1. Firstly, take a skillet, pour the oil and then sauté the garlic clove over high heat until they become brown
2. Secondly, put them in a blender or mixer
3. Thirdly, add the cleaned basil, pinions, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
4. Lastly, blend all the ingredients together

pesto

Bake the toast ciabatta slices
3

Toast ciabatta bread slices in the oven with a little bit of olive oil or butter. When they are done, then it is time to assemble the dish. First, you need to pour the pesto sauce over the toast. Then, top with slices of sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan. At last, garnish with prosciutto broken into strips and basil leaves. This delicious, colorful dish is a great breakfast or snack and it contains a lot of different ingredients that bring variety to your diet.

ciabatta

 

Ingredients

Ingredients for the ciabatta toast
 8 Slices of Ciabatta Bread
 3 tbsp Olive Oil
 8 Pieces of Sun-Dried Italian Tomatoes
 Fresh Basil
 1 Small Garlic Clove
 Fresh pinions
 8 Slices of Prosciutto di Parma Ham or Jamón Serrano
 3 oz Hard Parmesan Cheese
 Salt
 Pepper

Directions

1

Ciabatta toast is a perfect choice for breakfast. It is a delicious airy bread made with yeast. It is often used to make the famous panini sandwiches. I chose the ciabatta toast recipe with the pesto sauce, healthy sun-dried tomatoes, and dry-cured ham. You can always buy the pesto sauce, but, as always, it is way better and tastier when you make it at home. All you need is garlic, basil, oil, and pinions (pine nuts). Pesto is a great addition to many dishes that include various types of pasta. Besides pesto, I used the tomatoes in this dish, but the sun-dried version. It is very healthy, nutritious, and tasty.

ciabatta toast

Prepare the pesto sauce
2

1. Firstly, take a skillet, pour the oil and then sauté the garlic clove over high heat until they become brown
2. Secondly, put them in a blender or mixer
3. Thirdly, add the cleaned basil, pinions, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
4. Lastly, blend all the ingredients together

pesto

Bake the toast ciabatta slices
3

Toast ciabatta bread slices in the oven with a little bit of olive oil or butter. When they are done, then it is time to assemble the dish. First, you need to pour the pesto sauce over the toast. Then, top with slices of sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan. At last, garnish with prosciutto broken into strips and basil leaves. This delicious, colorful dish is a great breakfast or snack and it contains a lot of different ingredients that bring variety to your diet.

ciabatta

Ciabatta Toast with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pesto and Prosciutto
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