With a full-bodied flavor and a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth
texture, prosciutto enhances appetizers, pasta dishes, salads and
sandwiches. The paper-thin slices are best served at room temperature.
Italian for "ham
," prosciutto is a term used to describe a pork
cut that has
been seasoned, salt
-cured and air-dried, but not smoked. While domestic
prosciutto is now made in the United States, ham from the little
village of Langhirano in Italy's northern province of Parma is
considered to be the true prosciutto.
Known as prosciutto di Parma
this superior ham is made from pigs on a special diet of chestnuts and
whey. With a rosy-brown color, velvety texture and salty-sweet flavor,
prosciutto is usually thinly sliced and eaten as an appetizer
it can be used in cooked dishes as well.
Italian prosciuttos are all labeled according to their cities of
origin, such as prosciutto di Modena or prosciutto di Veneto, with each
city producing hams of slightly different colors, textures and flavors.
Italian hams are also designated as prosciutto crudo
, raw ham that is cured and ready to eat, or prosciutto cotto
, which is cooked.
Prosciutto is available in some supermarkets, but high-quality hams are
more likely to be found in gourmet and Italian markets. Look for moist,
golden-pink prosciutto bordered by white fat. Buy sliced
prosciutto only as needed as it tends to dry out quickly.
Tightly wrap sliced prosciutto and refrigerate for up to three weeks.
• Serve prosciutto as is, accompanied by crusty country bread and Italian cheeses.
• Wrap pieces around melon
slices, figs, breadsticks or a trio of cooked asparagus
• Make a prosciutto salad with radicchio
and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano
• Stir strips or chunks into pastas
at the last minute (prolonged cooking will make it tough).
• Pair prosciutto with a dry, white wine
Try one of our favorite prosciutto recipes:
Prosciutto Gorgonzola Risotto
Prosciutto and Gruyere Stromboli
Gigot de Mer (Whole Roast Monkfish)