Dry-cured ham, or Prosciutto in Italian, is perhaps the best-known form of traditional Italian cold cuts. Many varieties of this Prosciutto have even obtained the recognition of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for its history and its unique taste. The preparation process is very simple, and it takes place in accordance with old Emilian region traditions. Salt is rubbed into a leg of pork, which is then set aside for a while before being washed in lukewarm water and left to mature naturally for a number of months.
In Italy, the Prosciutto production probably dates back to the Lombard era when the meat seasoning practice was introduced. The term prosciutto, in fact, derives from the Latin perexsuctum, meaning “dried”, as during the seasoning phase, it loses all its quantity of water.
Protagonist of numerous dishes such as Tortellini, Romagna flatbread and many others, dry cured ham is also excellent tasted on its own, especially Prosciutto of Parma for its characteristic sweetness. It is rich of mineral salts that makes it a valid alternative to fresh meat as well as being a source of iron, zinc and selenium. Its unique taste is also enhanced by vegetables such as raw mushrooms sliced in salads or freshly grilled zucchini.
For those who love salty-sweet contrast, a pairing to try is Prosciutto with figs, kiwis, pineapples or melons. Additionally, cured ham goes very well with exotic fruits too.