These delicious treats are the perfect speedy snack. Made with bought pittas, topped with tomatoes, olives and grated mozzarella, then grilled and finished off with slices of Parma Ham – what could be simpler?

Delicious Parma Ham is a completely natural food with nothing added except salt. Making a Parma Ham is a long and painstaking process. The curing is controlled carefully so that the ham absorbs only enough salt to preserve it to retain its distinctive sweet flavour.

Prosciutto di Parma is produced in the hills surrounding the Italian town of Parma. The air in the Parmesan hills is unique, dry and sweet-smelling with breezes from the Apennine mountains, creating perfect environmental conditions for a natural ‘drying” of the hams.

The unique taste of Parma Ham is dependent on the traditional production process passed down from Roman times, carefully controlled by the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma. Only hams that have passed stringent curing regulations approved by the EU can be awarded the stamp of the Ducal crown – a five pointed coronet logo with PARMA in the centre which is branded onto the ham’s skin. The Ducal Crown is now a certification trademark.

Photography by Steve Lee. Recipes by Sue Ashworth

Parma Ham Pitta Pizzas

Serves 4

4 white or wholemeal pitta breads
8 tsp regular or sun-dried tomato puree
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 tsp dried Italian mixed herbs
100g (4oz) mozzarella cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
8 black or green olives
8 slices Parma Ham
Basil leaves, to garnish

• Preheat the grill
• Spread two teaspoons tomato puree over one side of each pitta bread. Arrange on the grill rack and top with the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with the mixed herbs and grated cheese
• Grill for three or four minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling
• Season with a little black pepper, then serve, topped with the olives and Parma Ham slices, scattered with a few basil leaves

Cook’s tips: For an easy variation, omit the sliced tomatoes and scatter a small can of drained pineapple chunks in natural juice over the top of the pittas, then add the grated mozzarella. Grill as above, then top with the slices of Parma Ham. If you prefer, bake the pittas for six to eight minutes in an oven preheated to 190°C, fan oven 170°C, gas mark 5.