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Prosciutto

Prosciutto, or Parma ham, is an Italian dry-cured ham. Prosciutto is not cooked, but salted and hung from the ceiling for up to two years to dry and cure. The traditional method uses only salt to cure the ham. Unfortunately, today nitrate is sometimes added. Prosciutto may be made from a farmed pig or wild boar.

 

There are many regional variations on dry-cured ham found throughout Europe. In Spain there is Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico, in Portugual there is Presunto, in varies countries in Eastern Europe, dry-cured ham is know as Pršut. If you have the chance, try them all.

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I like to use prosciutto and other dry-cured hams in appetizer platters, to wrap fruit or vegetables and in grilled cheese sandwiches. Unconventionally, I like to crisp prosciutto and use it in salads.

 

I once had an opportunity to tour a prosciutto factory in Parma. While very impressive, it was a bit of a tough tour. The tour opens with a room full of pigs swinging from hooks, and proceeds step by step through the curing process. My advice, is you really don't need to see how prosciutto is made. Just enjoy it!  

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