Prosciutto is a dry-cured ham. It is usually served thinly sliced and uncooked. It is made from a pig’s or wild boar’s ham (leg or thigh). The process of making prosciutto can take from nine months up to two years depending on the size of the leg and local climate. The ham is first cleaned, then heavily salted and left for about two months. During this time the ham is pressed to grain all blood left in the meat. After the two months have passed, it is washed several time to remove the the salt and hung in a dark cold room until cooked. When it is cooked and dry, it is usually hung at room temperature for up to eight months.
The most commonly known types of prosciutto are: prosciutto di Parma, from Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele, from San Daniele del Friuli. Both from the northern region of Italy. The main difference between the two is that prosciutto di Parma has a more nutty and saltier flavor, whereas the prosciutto di San Daniele is darker and sweeter. We offer exquisite prosciutto on our South Beach Food & Art Deco Tour
Recently we have been introduced to a new form of prosciutto: prosciutto Toscano. Though, it has been produced in the Tuscan region of Italy since the 15th century, it wasn’t until the 2013 that laws allowed for it to be imported to the US. Different to prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele, this one is cured not only with salt but also with pepper and other local aromatics such as garlic and fresh herbs. It is said to be more “meatier, earthier, and robust” than the original prosciutto. You can taste a bit of the aromatics that have come through in the curing process.
Prosciutto is sold in many supermarkets and fresh markets. When buying always make sure to double check that it says were it originates from. Normally it will be either di Parma, San Daniele, and now Toscano. Sometime you can find the “fake” or “imitation” prosciutto for a cheaper price. However, I recommend getting the real stuff because it means that it is PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). That means that its accepted under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union.