Italian starter food items known as antipasti (singular – antipasto) are pretty mouth-watering, aren’t they? We have learned about a few such as Bresaola, Capicola, Bruschetta, Crostino etc. Today we learn about a new item known as Prosciutto. Just like most other antipasti, this too is a non-veg food item. So, let us find out 15 interesting Prosciutto facts. Are you ready?
1. Served uncooked, the Prosciutto is a ham-based antipasto.
2. It is actually thinly sliced dry-cured ham.
3. Because it is served uncooked, it is known as Prosciutto Crudo.
4. The cooked ham has a similar name known as Prosciutto Cotto.
5. Prosciutto is usually prepared from the legs of the animal. The most expensive and renowned legs come from northern and central Italy such as San Daniele and Parma.
6. Prosciutto is made from thigh or hind leg (ham) or wild boar or pig.
7. Depending on the ham size, preparation of Prosciutto can take anywhere between 9 months and 2 years.
8. The manufacturing process involves cleaning and salting the ham and leaving it for two months. During this period, the ham is carefully and gradually pressed in order to drain out blood from the meat without breaking the bone.
9. Once the blood has been drained out, the ham is wash thoroughly to remove salt. Once the salt is removed, it is hung in a dark room with proper ventilation. The ham’s quality is determined by the surrounding air. Best quality comes only during cold climate.
10. The ham is left to dry out completely. This may take quite some time depending on the size of the ham and the climate. Once the ham dries completely, the ham is then hung in a controlled environment or room temperature for 18 months.
11. Sometimes potassium or sodium nitrates may be used for curing the ham. This produced a unique flavor and the rosy color.
12. Prosciutto is served in a variety of ways. It is usually used as antipasto but may be used as pizza topping, as wrap around steak or veal, or can be included in a Tuscan dish.
13. Prosciutto has a refined version known as Culatello. Culatello is made out of heavier pigs. The ham to be aged is only a fraction of what is being used in normal Prosciutto. Usually wine is used for curing the meat.
14. Culatello is most served as antipasto. It may be served along with fresh fig or sweet melon.
15. Culatello is a very popular and common dish served on New Year’s Eve.
Feeling hungry? Do you wish to taste this unique starter dish from Italy? Let us know!
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