What is prosciutto?
A quintessential Italian ham, prosciutto is one of the most famous and versatile types of cured meats. Using the hind legs of the pig, prosciutto di Parma is made by massaging a proportionate amount of salt into the meat. Then, in a climate-controlled environment, the prosciutto is air dried for two months or more. Italian grandmother tested and approved, prosciutto adds a briny richness to pastas, sandwiches, and antipasti platters. Read More
The history of Prosciutto di Parma
The building blocks of Italian cuisine, cured meats were pioneered by butchers as far back as the Middle Ages. As a solution to the lack of refrigeration technology and scarcity of resources, meat curing techniques were established in order to use every part of the pig, which also showed respect for the animals and the environment. Prosciutto production began in the Parma region, a tradition that continues to this day.
In order to protect the meticulous curing methods and quality of ingredients, the Prosciutto di Parma Consortium was founded in 1963, an official organization that outlined the standards of production and also enforced the guidelines to ensure quality control. In 1970, the European Union gave prosciutto di Parma its DOP status (Protected Designation of Origin), which helps guarantee authenticity while also promoting this popular type of cured meat.
What makes Prosciutto di Parma different?
Like many made in Italy imports, prosciutto ham has a distinctive flavor that reflects the environment where it was produced. In fact, Italian ham can only be called prosciutto di Parma if the pigs are raised in the province of Parma. This area is known for its unique microclimate, which comes from the air that blows in from Versilia. Passing through a variety of landscapes, the air takes on the scent of the olives and pine groves of the Val the Magra. Then, the softened winds are infused with the buttery and nutty aroma of chestnuts from the Apennines before arriving in Parma; giving prosciutto meat a sweet flavor that’s like no other.
What are some uses for Prosciutto di Parma?
Prosciutto di Parma can be used in any recipe or dish where you might use ham. But it also tastes wonderful when thinly sliced and placed on a classic antipasto platter with cheeses and olives. Prosciutto meat is also famously used as an Italian pizza topping along with arugula, which makes a delicious and crowd-pleasing homemade meal. Another great use for prosciutto di Parma is on a Panini sandwich. Layer some sliced prosciutto and provolone between two slices of hearty Italian bread and you’ll have a scrumptious lunch you can make in a snap.
For a quick meal that can be whipped together with everyday pantry foods, cut the Prosciutto into small cubes and toss into a simple yet satisfying pasta sauce made with extra virgin olive oil, red pepper, and butter. Marry it to long strand pasta like spaghetti or angel hair, garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan, and buono appetito!
Prosciutto di Parma can also be used to elevate classic meals with a northern Italian twist. You can add it to chicken broth along with a medley of seasonal vegetables. The brininess of the Prosciutto helps to brighten the flavors of the hearty ingredients, which makes for a delicious and comforting made-from-scratch soup. Prosciutto ham can also be incorporated into a spicy and fragrant tomato-cream sauce, which helps bring starchy chickpeas to life. It all comes together with two eggs, which are poached in the savory, tomato-based liquid.
Prosciutto meat also pairs well with fresh vegetables such as crunchy and sweet sugar snaps. With spicy and bright-flavored arugula as the base, this light yet substantial salad gets a rich and pungent lift from thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma. The dressing is made with a simple combination of lemon juice, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper, which gives this recipe a well-balanced flavor.
For a gourmet meal that is both delicious and inventive, Italian Prosciutto can also be used in unexpected ways. Wake up your taste buds with a salty-sweet bite that's brimming with flavor, such as the unlikely combination of Prosciutto di Parma with watermelon, plus large mint leaves for fresh aromatics and a tasty crunch with toasted almonds. Try it as a refreshing side dish or small plate during watermelon season. For seasonal variety, other types of fruit can be used, like cantaloupe or citrus.
Prosciutto can also add salty and savory notes to a classic Italian style vinaigrette, which is made with thinly sliced Prosciutto ham, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and white wine vinegar. Seasoned with garlic, salt, and freshly ground pepper, the dressing is sweetened with a dollop of honey and tossed together with fresh greens like celery, avocado, or other veggies in season.
Another way to showcase Prosciutto di Parma is with crowd-pleasing toasties made with watercress and fontina, which is crisped in a skillet for a melty and delicious bite. Other types of fresh greens and Italian cheeses can be used for this tasty appetizer. Whatever combination you come up with, the common denominator is Italian Prosciutto, one of the most popular varieties of Italian cured meats.
Where to buy Prosciutto di Parma online
For an authentic Italian experience, make sure to buy only the highest quality prosciutto Di Parma, which is available, online at Supermarket Italy. You’ll find a variety of different types of prosciutto, such as Colori e Sapori, Volpi Boneless Prosciutto, Parma Pros Grassi Guiseppe Black Label, Mastro Prosciutto Gold, San Daniele Prosciutto, Zuarina Prosciutto di Parma Rotondo, and many others. Shop our selection today and “ham” it up with your favorite prosciutto from Supermarket Italy!