Monday, September 12, 2005

Prosciutto Balls

In my last post I did not disclose the full details of our meal because I was blinded by my elation at being able to recreate The Sandwich. What I omitted was that I fairly successfully recreated another of my favorite treats, the prosciutto ball.

Prosciutto balls were featured in the New York Times a little over a year ago. The article, “Deep-Fried and Bite-Size,” published on May 26, 2004 in the Dining In/Dining Out section of the Times featured Joe’s Superette, “a fluorescent-lighted relic” in the traditionally Italian neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. They were described as “about the size of the Everlasting Gobstopper of Willy Wonka fame and deep-fried golden brown,” bursting with “peppery Locatelli-spiked ricotta, chewy mozzarella and boiled ham.” I had no need to read further – my mission was clear.

It takes a lot to get me to leave Manhattan. Typically only the pleas of members of the Raisinhater family, from New Jersey and Queens, can coerce me to leave the Pastis delivery zone and venture away from a zip code that does not begin with “100.” But the prosciutto balls – I had to seek them out and learn if they were as delicious as promised.

An appetite inducing bike ride later, I arrived on Smith Street. Despite having the exact address, I could not locate the fabled Superette. I must have walked past the little 10 foot wide deli three times before I spotted it.

They were not on the menu. Hello, I said to the shaved head man with very very large arms. (What to do next, how to pronounce?) Raisinhaters and other Italian-American families, particularly in the greater NY/NJ area, tend to drop the last vowel on certain words, so mozzarella is pronounced “mut-zarrel” and proscuitto, “bro-jhoot.” I wasn’t sure, so I went for the schwa ending. “Do you have projhutta balls?”

“How many?”

Yikes, eight thousand? I went for six, figuring I could always come back in for more. I did.

They are nearly impossible to describe. The exterior is like any delicious fried thing, for example a properly fried mozzarella stick. The interior is almost like a soft little quiche, fluffy and cheesy and you cant tell if it is ricotta or egg that makes it so luscious. And little flecks of ham, and the sharp cheese taste – is it parmesan or romano? I ate three more and was more than a little stuffed. These are not light. If you go, I recommend six as a maximum, and that is a full meal. You may want more, but that's because you ate too fast and they haven't had time to hit your stomach.

Trust me, they are definitely worth the trip. Don't eat more than six at a time, especially if you have to ride your bike home to Manhattan.

Joe's Superette
349 Smith Street (First Place and Carroll Street), (718) 855-6463.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Chef Sasha said...

You're killing me here!!!! What's the recipe?!?!?! I'm drooling so much I look like a perv at a porn convention. I'm a chef and I LOVE fried anything. I gotta have this recipe!!!!

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had the pleasure for the very first time of eating this "Ricotta ball" as this little deli in Little Italy called them during the San Ganerro Feast on Sept. 19th. Iv'e been Italian my whole life and never heard of or have eaten such a delight. You describe them perfectly and yes 6 is more than enough. My only regret is that I didn't buy several dozen and take home to freeze for later use. They cost only 2 for $1.00 at this little place whose name I don't recall! I am going to try to replicate the tastes but doubt if I will get it right! I would love the recipe too. Linda

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Miami now, but worked near Carroll Gardens....my boss would throw a Christmas lunch for the whole staff (Long Island COllege Hospital, Dr. F. DiPillo) and order from Joe's Superrette...we looked forward every Christmas for Joe's Prosciutto, THEY ARE TO DIE FOR!!!!I WANT SOME NOW!!! Will call Joe's Superrette and order some for delivery to MIAMI!!

truly,
Missing Joe's Prosciutto Balls
RoXii66

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kelli said...

I stumbled upon these while touring the city with my boyfriend in January. We immediately fell in love with them and honestly talk about them at least on a weekly basis. I will figure out how to make them if it kills me.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHERE'S THE DAMN RECIPE!? You say you've recreated the Prosciutt Ball and yet no recipe? What a tease.

p.s. Six is only maximum for light-weights. Get a dozen!

11:23 AM  
Anonymous xanax said...

very helpful post, cheers!

7:38 PM  

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