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. Prosciutto adds a briny richness to pastas, sandwiches, and antipasti platters, and will be an excellent addition to any charcuterie board.
Prosciutto di Parma
Prosciutto production originally 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 to enforce standards of production and quality control. In 1970, the European Union gave prosciutto di Parma its DOP status (Protected Designation of Origin), which helps guarantee authenticity for this popular type of cured meat. 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, where sweet winds from Versilia carry the aroma of chestnuts from the Apennines, giving prosciutto di Parma a sweet flavor that’s like no other.
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 can I make with prosciutto?
Prosciutto of all kinds can be used in dishes where you might use ham, such as a classic charcuterie board with cheeses and olives, an Italian pizza topping with arugula and pecorino romano, or a grilled panini sandwich. Layer sliced prosciutto and provolone cheese between two slices of hearty Italian bread and you’ll have a scrumptious lunch you can make in a snap. The salty tang of prosciutto brightens dishes such as pastas, soups, and vegetable medleys. Enjoy refreshing prosciutto with melon on a hot summer’s day, or make a comforting bowl of Tuscan bean soup with this specialty cured meat in the wintertime.