White Bean Soup with Crisped Prosciutto

makes 8 cups

(recipe from Bi Rite Market’s Eat Good Food Cookbook)

In a large (8 quart) pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until they turn translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the celery & carrot and continue to cook until they soften slightly, 10 minutes. Add the sage, garlic, and bay leaf and continue to cook for 2 more minutes, until aromatic.

Add the stock and beans and 2 teaspoons of salt and fresh ground pepper. Increase heat to medium high and bring soup to a boil. Then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook, uncovered until the vegetables are completely soft and have started to break down, 45 to 1 hour.

Meanwhile position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350F.

Brush both sides of the prosciutto with olive oil and place each piece on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until they are slightly darker and wrinkly, 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and they will crisp even more while cooling. Break into shards and set aside.

Finish the soup by removing the bay leaf and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or a food processor/blender in various batches). Stir in the lemon juice and add more if needed. Salt & pepper to taste. To serve, divide soup among bowls and stop with the crisped prosciutto.