Italy has the history of making prosciutto for more than 2,000 years, and the prosciutto of Parma is among the worlds top-quality products and protected by European Union Law. So what does it taste like? Is it really that delicious? How to eat it?
One of the favorite treats of northern and central Italian cuisine is prosciutto, a raw, salt-cured, dried ham. Theres a saying in Italy which goes that a person who doesnt like raw prosciutto is not an Italian. Prosciutto can be found in ordinary peoples plate as well as on the table of an Italian state banquet.
How to eat raw prosciutto? It can be used in salads. Try wrapping a slice of prosciutto around a slice of sweet fresh fruit -- with soft cantaloupes its amazing. It may sound a little bit strange, since prosciutto is salty and the cantaloupe is sweet. But the sweetness of fresh fruit will balance the saltiness of prosciutto. Its a famous appetizer around the world, and its very tasty. Prosciutto can be cooked. In Northern Italy, people use prosciutto as dumpling fillings, and in Central Italy its boiled with vegetables.
How to make raw prosciutto? Italian prosciutto is made by first cleaning and salting a ham. The salt prevents the meat from turning an unattractive gray color as it ages, slows the fat from spoiling and inhibits bacteria from forming. Afterwards, Italian prosciutto is hung to air dry, first at warm temperatures until moisture in the meat evaporates, and then in cooler temperatures. The length of drying depends upon the climate and size of the ham, which can take from six months to a year or more.
Italian people are really proud of century-old prosciutto production. Next time when you have dinner in an Italian restaurant, order yourself prosciutto with cantaloupe to start the meal. Sit back and relax. You will be delightfully surprised, since all the compliments are true.