Remember back in July, I had written that I was unfamiliar with Speck nor did I think I could get it here in Kansas City? Turns out I was virtually surrounded by Speck.
It was here as an appetizer at one of my favorite lunch spots, Michael Smith's Extra Virgin.
It was in the deli case in my Whole Foods.Heck, it was in the cheese and meat case of the wine shop not one block away from my office. With such an abundance of Speck, it was time to give it a whirl. I decided not to deep fry it with pineapple (a la Chef Patterson) but instead wrap it around some black mission figs and blue cheese and grill it. If you'd like a recipe similar to what I did, there's Michael Chiarello's Proscuitto Wrapped Figs, just substitute the Speck.
I used two different kinds of blue cheese mainly because I'm always looking for a good excuse to buy blue cheese. My selections for this dish were a Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue and a Valdeon Blue. The Roth is a creamier, milder, slightly sweet blue cheese while the Valdeon has the more traditional salty tang you expect from those deep blue veins. Both were excellent but personally when using the Valdeon I'd use smaller pieces on the fig so not to overpower the other flavors.What I like about using Speck instead of Prosciutto is the milder more subtle favor. It's a lovely layed flavor combination of the sweetness of the grilled fig, the burst of the blue cheese and the finish of the savory Speck. It's a simple yet sophisticated appetizer and would certainly work with any mildly sweet fruit. Chef Chiarello suggested finishing his version with a drizzle of olive oil but I decided against that. I think next time I will try drizzling just a hint of some nice warm clover honey.
So look around, you might be surprised just how close your Speck might be.