Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham. Good proscuitto is very rich, with a velvety mouth feel, but never tastes overly fatty or greasy. Proscuitto is most commonly served in paper-thin slices. Classic combinations include proscuitto draped over slices of melon, and prosciutto wrapped around asparagus. Paired with buffalo mozzarella, olive oil, and freshly ground pepper it makes an excellent sandwich.
The most renowned Italian prosciuttos are produced in Parma and San Danielle. In recent years, artisan salumists in the United States have also begun producing some excellent examples.
Thin sliced piece of meat that makes it almost transparent. Salted and in some cases, associated with a specific type of cure for ham then hanged and dried from 6 months up to 2 years.
Selecting and Buying
Read the label for country of origin. Real prosciutto comes from Italy and, most notably, the Parma region. Prosciutto from this particular region is known as "Prosciutto di Parma."
Make sure the prosciutto label identifies the product as "PDO Prosciutto." This stands for Protected Denomination of Origin. It guarantees the prosciutto you buy conforms to the strict production standards in Italy.
Buy Prosciutto di San Daniele if you prefer the taste of sea salt. Buy Prosciutto di Toscano if you prefer the added flavors of juniper, black pepper, rosemary and garlic.
Purchase a whole boneless prosciutto if you are serving a large gathering. Avoid ordering slices of prosciutto online since they tend to taste like their vacuum packaging.
A refined variety of prosciutto is called Curatelo.
When the prosciutto is almost ready, it is tested by piercing it with a shard of horse bone. When the bone is pulled out, it will have an aroma resembling the taste of the center of the ham.
Some producers use a proscuitto-like technique on smaller boneless center-cut hams. The curing time is shorter and the resulting product is called culatello. Salt-cured duck breasts are also commonly referred to as duck prosciutto. These fully cure in as little as two to three weeks.
Preparation and Use
There are so many ways to serve Prosciutto. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or even as Appetizer.
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Conserving and Storing
Deboned and wrapped, Prosciutto di Parma should last up to 6 months in a refrigerated location with a steady temperature of 40 to 46°F. Only bone-in Prosciutto di Parma can be hung and left at room temperature. If this is the case, the prosciutto can be stored for up the 12 months, in a room with a temperature between 62 and 68°F.
Once you begin slicing the meat, if can stored in the refrigerator for up to a month, as long as you cover the cut, exposed part with plastic wrap.