There is no mistaking prosciutto. Piled onto a sandwich, wrapped around leaves of arugula, or folded into rosettes on a cheese plate, prosciutto's silky texture and sweet-salty flavor are instantly recognizable. And instantly seductive.
Prosciutto is made from the hind leg of the pig. It is first cured in salt and herbs for several months and then hung to dry-cure for several more months before finally be ready to eat. The process is very dependent on the environment in which the meat is cured. Cool and dry climates are best, which is why some of the best prosciutto comes from Parma and San Daniele in Italy.
All this curing and aging makes for one extra-special cured meat. Sliced wafer-thin, prosciutto literally melts on the tongue. With its intense flavor, a little goes a long way (which is also convenient since a more than little can often cost quite a lot at the deli counter).
Prosciutto fantastic all on its own, perhaps needing only slice of baguette or wedge of aged cheese to act as edible vehicle. A sandwich with prosciutto, mozzarella, and fresh basil is heavenly. Also try adding it to salads, layering it on pizza, and tossing it with a creamy pasta.
• Asparagus Spread and Prosciutto on Toast
• Prosciutto and Mozzarella with Poached Eggs
• Asparagus Spears Wrapped in Prosciutto and Phyllo
• Spelt Crust Pizza with Fennel, Prosciutto, and Apples
• Grilled Potato, Gorgonzola, and Prosciutto Pizza
• Strozzapretti with Pecorino, Prosciutto, and Something Green
Do you love prosciutto? What do you like to do with it?
(Image: Elizabeth Passarella)