This is a typical way to serve prosciutto around Modena. They also turn the fried dough into a sweet dish by drizzling some honey and powdered sugar over the rounds of fried dough while they’re still hot
- One 3/5-ounce package fresh yeast or 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm (about 100 F) milk
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading by hand
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for final salting
- 1 1/2 cups sparkling mineral water or club soda
- 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, milk, and olive oil. Mix at low speed until the yeast is dissolved. Add the mineral water, 4 cups of the flour, and the salt. Continue mixing at slow speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the dough is very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
(Alternatively, you can mix the dough by hand: Stir the yeast, milk, and olive oil together in a small bowl until the yeast is dissolved. Place 4 cups of the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the mineral water and the milk mixture. With a fork, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the liquid. Continue stirring until the dough becomes too stiff to mix with a fork. Work the remaining flour into the dough with your hands just until a rough, firm dough is formed. Shape the dough into a rough ball and set it aside. Clean and dry your hands thoroughly. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes; flour your hands and the work surface as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.)
Wrap the dough in a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into four equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough 1/4 inch thick. With a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles (cut the rounds as close together as possible to reduce the amount of scraps) and set them aside. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces. Knead the dough scraps into a smooth ball and let stand for 15 minutes before rolling and cutting into rounds.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 350°F. (A small piece of the dough should give off a lively sizzle when dipped in the oil.) Add about one third of the dough circles (don’t crowd them) and fry until they puff up, about 1 minute. Continue frying, turning often with a long-handled fork to cook the rounds evenly, until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining dough circles.
Sprinkle the fried dough lightly with salt and serve warm alongside the prosciutto or drape the prosciutto over the hot gnocco fritto.