Leek and ham pizza muffins

    20 min

    Sweet leeks, aromatic basil and savoury Parma ham combine with mozzarella cheese to make a sophisticated pizza-style topping for wholemeal muffins. For a crisp and refreshing contrast, serve with a simple salad of watercress sprigs and coarsely grated carrot tossed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 leeks, about 250 g (8½ oz) in total, thinly sliced
    • 4 wholemeal muffins, sliced in half
    • 4 tbsp shredded fresh basil leaves
    • 4 slices of Parma ham, about 50 g (1¾ oz) in total, trimmed of fat and cut in half widthways
    • 100 g (3½ oz) mozzarella cheese, cut into thin strips
    • 4 tbsp coarsely shredded rocket
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:5min  ›  Ready in:20min 

    1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the leeks and cook over a moderately high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the leeks are tender and greatly reduced in volume. The juices they yield should have evaporated by this time — if not, increase the heat and cook for a few more seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    2. Preheat the grill to high. Place the muffins, cut side down, in the grill pan without the rack. Grill to toast the bases, then turn the muffins over. Divide the leeks equally among the muffins, spreading evenly. Top with the basil, then lay a piece of Parma ham on each muffin half. Gently pinch the ham up into loose folds. Scatter the strips of mozzarella cheese over the ham.
    3. Cook the muffin pizzas under the hot grill for 4—5 minutes or until the mozzarella cheese has melted and is bubbling. The ham and cheese should be lightly browned in places. Sprinkle with the shredded rocket and serve.

    Each serving provides

    A, E, calcium, selenium, B1, B6, B12, C, folate, niacin, copper, iron, zinc

    Some more ideas

    *Use 75 g (2 1/2 oz) lean cooked ham, cut into fine strips, instead of the Parma ham, and a handful of small watercress sprigs instead of the basil.
    *For tomato and ham pizza muffins, replace the leeks with a mixture of 4 chopped ripe tomatoes, 8 chopped spring onions, 1—2 finely chopped garlic cloves and 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano. Omit the basil. Top with the Parma ham and mozzarella cheese, and grill as in the main recipe. * Make bacon and pineapple pizza muffins. Grill 4 lean back bacon rashers for about 5 minutes, turning once, then roughly chop or snip into pieces with scissors. Spread 4 tsp tomato purée over the split muffins and top with a mixture of 4 chopped ripe tomatoes, 3 chopped spring onions and pepper to taste. Drain a can of pineapple rings in juice, about 220 g, and cut the rings in half — there are usually 4 rings in each can. Place a piece of pineapple on each muffin half, top with the bacon and dot with 100 g (3 1/2 oz) reduced-fat soft cheese, cut into small pieces. Cook under a hot grill for about 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.

    Plus points

    *Leeks provide vitamin E, which has powerful antioxidant properties.
    *Mozzarella contains less fat than many other cheeses, but it is still rich in calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth and proper clotting of the blood.

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