The Art of Making Prosciutto
The literal meaning of Prosciutto translates to 'Ham'. Usually distinguished into 2 main categories - Proscuitto Cotto and Proscuitto Crudo.
Let us understand how the prosciutto is made.
The cut of meat used in making Proscuitto is high - quality pork leg. A simple age-old method is required in curing the meat which consists of applying excessive amounts of salt to the pork leg for drawing the water out of the meat. During the process of curing, the pork leg loses water and blood which prevents bacteria from entering the meat and hence is safe to consume raw.
The latter part of the salting requires the pork leg to be washed, seasoned by hand (many families have held their secrets for the recipe blend for seasoning) eventually left for 18 to 36 months to dry age. This is the perfect combination of air, salt and time that gives this delicacy the sweet and delicate flavour.
The production of prosciutto varies from place to place along with the addition of the producer. For example, Proscuitto di Parma DOP is made from heritage pig breeds which are raised in 11 regions in Italy.
Best way to serve Prosciutto -
The best way to serve prosciutto is to cut a thin slice and place it straight in your mouth allowing the fat to melt on your tongue. This leaves a creamy yet rich texture on your palate as you savour the leaner part of the prosciutto.
You can choose to serve the prosciutto by itself or it pairs really well with vegetables, cheese, bread, etc. Prosciutto can also be used to cook pasta or can be used as a topping on pizzas. Be sure to savour the long-aged cuts of the prosciutto by itself.
A great recipe for prosciutto you ask - Well, here you go!
Some great Prosciutto brands -
2) La Quercia
1 cup peeled, deseeded, and diced butternut squash (1/2-inch)
2 cups peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2-inch)
2 cups peeled and diced parsnips (1/2-inch)
2 cups peeled and diced carrots (1/2-inch)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 (8-ounce each) skinless fish fillets such as striped bass or halibut
6 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1 stick unsalted butter
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Direction1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2) Place the butternut squash, potatoes, parsnips, and carrots on a sheet pan and drizzle with 1/3 cup olive oil. Sprinkle salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread out in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes, turning once during cooking. After 30 minutes, toss with the garlic and roast for another 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and starting to brown.
3) Meanwhile, line another sheet pan with aluminium foil, and place a baking rack on top of the foil. Brush the fish fillets on both sides with olive oil and season them liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap each fillet with a slice of prosciutto, overlapping the ends on the skin side. Arrange the fillets on the rack with the prosciutto seam side down and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until barely cooked.
4) While the vegetables and fish are roasting, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-size saute pan. Add the rosemary sprigs and cook over low heat until the rosemary leaves are crisp and the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Discard the rosemary, stir in the lemon juice, and set aside.
To serve, place the fish on a platter or individual plates, spoon the rosemary butter on top, and surround with the vegetables.
5) Garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot.