Prosciutto is one of the world’s most famous popular salumi. This salty, pinkish, and thinly-sliced meat is a beloved ham of the Italians.
Prosciutto, or simply ham, has two types. It can be cured and raw one known as Prosciutto crudo. Another is cooked ham, or prosciutto cotto.
Prosciutto crudo originated during the pre-Roman period. Village people in Italy started to dry-age pork legs to augment their supply of meat during the wintertime. The practice and methods of producing prosciutto became more excellent throughout the years. Nowadays, the tradition of doing prosciutto is a form of celebration around Italy.
To make a prosciutto, you have the source the best meat from pork legs.
You have to cover the meat with salt. Leave it for some weeks. During this period, the salt helps dry out the moisture and blood of the meat, which makes it free from the entrance of bacteria. Putting salt on the meat also increases the flavor.
After putting salt to the meat, you have to wash the pork legs, out some seasoning, and let the pork leg dry at a controlled temperature for some 14 to 36 months.
The mixture of air and salt, plus the time it is preserved, is why the prosciutto has delicate and sweet texture and flavor.
In an article from Eataly, it is said that the way prosciutto is produced can be different according to the producer, region, and consortium.
“For example, Prosciutto di Parma DOP is made exclusively from carefully selected heritage breed pigs raised in 11 regions of Italy. The entire process from salting to aging must occur in the Parma province, where the air and climate impart a unique flavor on the meat,” it said.
“On the other hand, Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP is made in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. The higher altitudes and different climates give the meat a darker and sweeter flavor,” it added.
Accordingly, the other varieties of prosciutto are identified as Prosciutto di Carpegna, Prosciutto Toscano Prosciutto di Modena, and Prosciutto di Modena.
How to cook the best Prosciutto?
Interestingly, the best method to cook a prosciutto is not at all.
This is because prosciutto, like the Italian prosciutto crudo, is already a product of an artisan!
The making of prosciutto went into a “time-honored process” and perfection. Thus, the best way to enjoy it is my consuming it as it is.
Prosciutto is best consumed when served with complementary foods such as fresh figs, melon, or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
If you are serving a pizza, a layer of prosciutto above it is also an excellent choice.
You can also cook the unsliceable ends of prosciutto into your stews or soups to enhance the flavor of your dish.
These rinds are primarily available for a lower price at the market or shops where prosciutto is sliced.
What does prosciutto taste like?
Prosciutto gives you an excellent balance of sweet and salty flavor. It is oozing with refined porcine taste that makes you crave for more once eaten. Its thin slice makes it easy to chew and melts in your mouth, giving you a wonderful sensation and cravings.
Prosciutto usually has a pink to brownish-red color. Each slice of prosciutto is rich in fat and other nutrients.
Other varieties of prosciutto are seasoned with herbs, spices, rosemary, black pepper, juniper, and other flagrant flavors to make it unique.
The more prosciutto is aged, the more flavors it gives.
What is the best way to eat prosciutto?
To have the best prosciutto, it is suggested that it will be served in a paper-thin slice.
Just take some pieces and put them in your mouth. Allow the fat to melt on your tongue and savor the creamy flavor of the meat. Slowly chew the prosciutto, and experience its delicate texture of saltiness and sweetness.
You can always serve this Italian ham with vegetables, fruits, cheese, and wine.
We recommend using prosciutto for your other dishes like pizza and pasta.
What is the difference between Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele?
The European Union designs the Protected Designation of Origin category (PDO) to ensure that regions’ names and agricultural products are being protected.
Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Danielle are two of the agricultural products protected by PDO.
Prosciutto di Parma originated in Parma, Italy, while Prosciutto di San Daniele comes from San Daniele, of northeastern Italy.
There is a difference between these two hams. Parma ham has a rounded shape, while Daniele has a flat appearance.
However, Parma and San Daniele hams undergo maturity for 13 months or even three years.
Furthermore, the time allocated during aging will significantly affect the basic characteristics of the meat. The longer time and the drying period spent for the meat make up the big difference between the two.
The Parma ham has a fruity, sweet characteristic. On the other hand, San Daniele has a hint of earth texture.
Where to buy your favorite Prosciutto?
Throughout the United States or in any major meat stalls and markets, Prosciutto can be found in stock, either prepackaged or pre-sliced.
But if you aim to buy for high-quality prosciutto, it is recommended that you look for it at a shop specializing in imported Italian products.
Whether you are an Italian party planner, ordinary cook, or lover of ham-made foods, you need to pay attention to the color of the prosciutto when buying it. The meat should be rosy in color. If the color is dull or dry around the edges of the ham, do not buy the product.
Below is a recipe you can try using a Prosciutto:
Prusciutto in bacon with a pork net
3.5 ounces pig liver
3.5 ounces fresh bacon
10.5 ounces fresh prosciutto (a nice big slice)
1.75 ounces pork net
1 glass of white wine
Directions in cooking
- Set the pork net on which you will place the slice of prosciutto over a piece of oven foil paper.
- Dice the bacon and liver, dress with sage, rosemary, ground salt and pepper, and place everything on top of the prosciutto.
- Roll up the mixture in the foil paper, make sure the filling stays inside, tie with kitchen string, and keep it all rolled up.
- Put the rolled food wrap in a casserole with olive oil, garlic, sage and rosemary.
- Heat in an oven up to 350F for about 35-40 minutes, wet with wine halfway through cooking time.
- When cooking is finished dress the bacon with the cooking sauce.