Apr 21, 2018


Norman Van Aken © All rights reserved. “My Key West Kitchen”

Serrano Ham was fairly unknown outside of New York City in the United States when I put this on a menu at The Café at Louie’s Backyard. The inspiration for The Café came from a visit to San Francisco I took with Louie’s partner/owner Proal Perry in. We were knocked completely out by places like ‘Stars’, ‘Square One’, ‘Fog City Diner’ and ‘Chez Panisse’. It was while we sat in ‘The Cafe at Chez Panisse’ that we realized we could transform the upstairs of Louie’s into our version of Alice Water’s revolutionary, yet informal Berkeley mecca.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

3 Tablespoons of XVOO

1 Tablespoon butter

2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

¾ pound of wild mushrooms, (whatever is in season and in very good quality), trimmed and cut into quarters or sixths

3 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar

¾ Cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

4 slices Brioche (or other)

4 slices of Serrano Ham, (very thinly sliced) (or prosciutto)

Clarified butter to crisp the brioche


Parmesan, as desired

Heat a medium to large sauté pan and add the olive oil and butter. Now add the garlic and allow to soften a minute. Add the mushrooms. Stir gently seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes.

Now and sherry vinegar and simmer 30-60 seconds to reduce the liquid until almost a syrup.

Turn the saucepan on high heat. Quickly add in the heavy cream and reduce, stirring until thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from the heat. Keep warm.

Toast the brioche. Place the brioche toast on the plates. Top with the mushroom mixture.

Lay a slice or two of Serrano Ham over each. Grate Parmesan on each and serve.