Italia in a Flash: Prosciutto
Prosciutto basically translates to ham in English; there are two major types produced in Italy, prosciutto crudo and prosciutto cotto.
• Prosciutto crudo is a raw cured ham typically made with only pork, salt, sometimes a few herbs, and time. This is what we typically refer to as prosciutto in the U.S.
• Prosciutto cotto is any cooked ham, which can be plain or flavored with herbs, truffles, or other flavors. We have lots to choose from in our deli.
Our Italian prosciutti crudi (plural of prosciutto crudo) are made in three very specific regions by producers renowned for their quality and consistency and which are approved for sale in the U.S. All three are D.O.P. (Denominazione Origine Protetta), which indicates a specially protected product of Italy.
• Prosciutto di Parma—can only be produced in a small region just south of Milan in the North Central part of Italy. These hams have a slightly nutty flavor and rich, moist meatiness.
• Prosciutto di San Daniele—must come from a small area Northeast of Venice near the borders of Austria and Slovenia. These hams have a little sweeter flavor with a slightly darker colored meat.
• Prosciutto Toscano—is produced just south of Florence in the heart of Tuscany. Just available in the USA for the first time last year—these hams are coated in garlic, black peppercorns, and juniper berries, and aged giving the sweet ham another spicy dimension.
Prosciutti crudi are also aged from 16 months all the way up to 30 months. It takes a lot of time, a lot of sweet Italian breezes, and a lot of artisanship to make a great prosciutto!
The layer of fat that surrounds the meat is a critical part of the flavor and makeup of the ham-eating experience and should be served in a healthy proportion to the meat. Don’t trim completely off! Also key to the experience is that Prosciutto should be sliced very thin so as to melt on the palate very quickly, though it may also be cubed or diced to be used in recipes to add incredible amounts of flavor.
Typical serving suggestions
• Simply with a selection of olives and crusty bread.
• Wrap around grissini (Italian breadsticks).
• Wrap around peak-of-season melon.
• Make a panino (sandwich) with tomato, mozzarella, and olive oil.
• Wrap around blanched asparagus spears and roast in the oven.