Italian Prosciutto also known as dry-cured ham. An Italian Prosciutto di Parma are unsmoked and uncooked ham. These are served thinly sliced ham made out of the legs or thighs of a pig or a wild boar. Prosciutto often means thoroughly dried, therefore the process of making this type of ham takes months and even years, that also depends on the size of the leg or thighs and the local climate. There are different varieties of Prosciutto, that is why in today’s post we will be talking about the different types of Prosciutto. Check it out below for more details.
Different Types Of Prosciutto
The word Prosciutto comes from the latin word “perexsuctus” that basically means “deprived of water”. True enough, the curing process for Prosciutto hams indeed involves the ham to be cured and dried for months and even years. When moisture is removed from the meat, it also means a longer shelf life.
Prosciutto has two main types: Italian Prosciutto Crudo and Italian Prosciutto Cotto. Prosciutto Crudo is the dried, salt-cured type while Prosciutto Cotto on the other hand is referred to as regular cooked ham.
Other types of Prosciutto are Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele and Prosciutto Toscano
Listed below are the different types of Prosciutto. Each of these types share the same type of ham however the only difference is that how each of these types of Prosciutto are prepared.
Prosciutto Crudo is basically thinly sliced ham that is traditionally used for in main dishes and sometimes in appetizers. Prosciutto Crudo is widely known by most of the American People.
These are air-dried, salt-cured ham with streaks of fat is considered to be one of the healthiest hams. Why is that so? simply because Prosciutto Crudo does not contain any artificial ingredients.
The curing process of Prosciutto Crudo involves hanging the ham until it becomes dry. From the start, the fat are cut and removed from the meat (leg or thighs). After which, it is then covered with sea salt. The ham is then hang until it becomes dry, the curing process usually takes about 16 months and for longer of about 3 years. It should be hang on a well-ventilated room but the temperature of the room should also be controlled. Most of Prosciutto Crudo can be purchased in two different flavors: Savory or sweet
Prosciutto Crudo is popularly used for as additional ingredient to the traditional first course usually on an Italian meal called Antipasto. An Antipasto meal consists of cured or smoked meats aside from its other ingredients such as anchovies, olives, pepperoni, mushrooms, pickled meat, and vegetables with either in oil or vinegar.
Aside from Antipasto, Prosciutto Crudo is also added to sandwiches and salad, such as the Caprese Salad.
Another type of Prosciutto is the Prosciutto Cotto. It is similar to Prosciutto Crudo, however, it is quiet the opposite of how it is made. While Prosciutto Crudo are dry cured ham, Prosciutto Cotto on the other hand is cooked. It is popularly sold in Italy as deli-style ham. While American Cooked ham are smoked or even sweetened, but not with Prosciutto Cotto.
Prosciutto di Parma
Prosciutto di Parma is a widely popular type of Prosciutto. It is known as Parma Ham, perhaps one of the finest hams in all of Italy and probably the whole world. Its incredible sweetness is made through the aging process wherein the ham is aged far more longer than the rest of other types of Prosciutto.
Prosciutto di Parma has a nutty flavor and saltier flavor and a creamy texture as well.
The curring and the salting process of creating Prosciutto di Parma makes the ham safer to eat. This means that Parma hams are ready to eat and you no longer have to cook it, although if you add it to your pizza or pasta, Parma hams will be cooked and that is okay too.
Prosciutto di San Daniele
Although Prosciutto di Parma is sweet, the only difference with Prosciutto di San Daniele is that the latter is slightly sweeter and the meat is darker as compared to Prosciutto di Parma ham. Prosciutto san Daniele is quiet unique, to intensity its flavor the meat is salted and then pressed for about 3 days.
To enhance the depth flavor Prosciutto Toscano, the meat is not just salted but with local spices as well. Local spices such as Rosemary, black pepper, garlic and Juniper.
The curring process involves cutting pigs and seasoning its legs manually, then placing them in well ventilated but controlled temperature rooms for at least a year (12 months). It is also difficult to find in America.
What is the best way to eat Prosciutto?
The best way to eat Prosciutto is from the paper itself where it was sliced into. Or you can also pair Prosciutto with Mozzarella cheese to make it more flavorful. You can also add slices of melon for when eating Prosciutto for a snack. Aside from that, Prosciutto is also best when eaten packed inside the bread.
No, you no longer need to cook Prosciutto since it is has been dried, cured and safe to eat. Cooking it will only make the meat even drier.
Well, there is not really specific size for the Prosciutto slice. It really depends on where you will be using it. If cooking stew requires a bigger sizes of Prosciutto, then you can slice it in bigger sizes although it is rarely used in that manner.
Since most of Prosciutto are an addition to a dish, thinly sliced Prosciutto is preferable than big slices of Prosciutto.
During the curing and aging process of the meat, the breakdown of its proteins and fats makes the cured meat tastes delicious. Although each ham may slightly differ in taste depending on factors during the curing process: Temperature, breed of the pig, diet of the pig and the salt that is used.
Prosciutto is often served on Charcuterie boards, together with other ingredients such as cheese, nuts and olives, fresh and dried fruits, jam or crackers and of course cured meats.
The salt that coated the meat helps in removing the moisture, lesser moisture on the meat also means less bacteria is present. Therefore, yes it is considered safe to eat Prosciutto out from the package.
Prosciutto has high fat content. In fact, 1 ounce of Prosciutto contains about 3.5 grams of fat (1g saturated fat. Given that, make sure not to eat too much cured meats.
Yes, Prosciutto needs to be refrigerated. Most of Prosciutto have expiration dates, and the dates are between 60 days to 90 days (maximum). Although if the refrigerated meat is more than a month, it is still safe to eat and consume however it will no longer be the same quality as that of a newly opened package
Those are the different varieties of Prosciutto that is enjoyed and loved by not just Italians but all over the globe. A single Prosciutto thinly sliced is just enough however you always have the options to add it to your salad, sandwiches and pizza.
To help you remember, Crudo means raw and Cotto means cooked. Also, both Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto San Daniele are sweet, as compared to Prosciutto Toscano which is saltier.
We hope that this guide has helped you learn about Prosciutto and the different types.