What’s prosciutto di Parma ham?
Prosciutto di Parma ham is a world-well-known salt-cured air-dried ham produced within the farming space surrounding the Italian metropolis of Parma.
In response to the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma website, this space has an age-outdated custom within the manufacturing of scrumptious, high-quality prosciutto di Parma ham since earlier than Roman occasions. Even the title for prosciutto might be traced again to the Latin phrase perexsuctum, which implies dried.
The place is the town of Parma and the area of Emilia Romagna positioned.
Parma is the second largest metropolis within the Emilia Romagna area in Northern Italy, with inhabitants of around 200,000. The town is dwelling to one of many oldest universities on this planet. The area Emilia Romagna is positioned to the north of Tuscany, to the east of Liguria, and to the south of Lombardy and Veneto.
In addition to having scrumptious prosciutto, Parma can be recognized for its manufacturing of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and was named a UNESCO metropolis of gastronomy for its essential contribution to Italian and world delicacies with its high-quality specialty meat and meals merchandise. Different well-known merchandise from close by are Balsamic vinegar from Modena and mortadella from Bologna.
DOP certification of Parma ham
Prosciutto di Parma is a prosciutto crudo (“uncooked” Italian salt-cured pork meat) that gained the Denominazione di Origine Protetta DOP standing which interprets as “Protected Designation of Origin” in English. This can be a protected standing for an agricultural meals product that comes from a selected space or area, normally with an age-outdated custom handed down from previous generations.
Prosciutto di Parma by regulation has to be made within the hills surrounding Parma with its distinctive local weather situations. The realm is delineated by being south of the Emilia Approach street however not lower than 5 km from it, and by the River Enza to the East and the Stirone stream to the west.
Solely prosciutto meat that follows the rules passes the ultimate inspection, and is made in this space around Parma might be thought-about prosciutto di Parma and be marked with the Ducal Crown.
The Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma was established in 1963 with a gaggle of 23 preliminary producers from Parma serious about defending the native custom of constructing prosciutto in nicely ventilated rooms and with simply sea salt and pork. The consortium now has over 150 Parma producers and has change into one of the crucial essential symbols of Made in Italy high-quality meals merchandise.
Prosciutto di Parma Ducal Crown
To obtain the Parma Crown, which is the fireplace branded image that each prosciutto di Parma should have, the ham goes via a rigorous inspection course of an impartial certifying physique.
After the prosciutto di Parma has been aged for no less than 12 months to most of three years, the prosciutto di Parma inspectors use a horse bone “needle” to insert into completely different elements of the ham to scent how the prosciutto is progressing and if the curing course of is full based mostly on a number of olfactory markers.
If the prosciutto is deemed prepared, it will likely be fireplace branded with the official Parma Crown mark and is then able to be bought.
How is prosciutto di Parma ham made?
Prosciutto di Parma ham producers in Italy use solely 4 elements when making their air-cured ham:
- Leg of pork (hind legs solely) from Italian pigs from approved prosciutto di Parma pig slaughter homes, with a mean weight of 15 kg per hind leg
- Sea salt, fastidiously managed by the maestro Salvatore
- Lard from the identical pigs
- Parma air and time
Salt and air curing course of steps to creating Parma ham in meals drying rooms:
- First, the pork legs arrive from the slaughter homes. The Parma ham legs are salted by a salt grasp (maestro Salvatore in Italian is accountable for salting the meat). Some elements of the pig leg are salted with humid salt and others with dry salt. The legs are then hung in a humidity and temperature-managed room for per week.
- The pork legs obtain one other coating of simple sea salt from the salt grasp and are left for a further 15-18 days. No chemical substances are allowed throughout this course and salt is the one factor that preserves the meat to remedy it.
- Now that the prosciutto hams have been salted, they are going to grasp in temperature and humidity-managed rooms for an additional 60-90 days. After this preliminary section, the prosciutto hams are washed, and they’re brushed to take away impurities and extra salt after which they’re hung to dry in drying rooms for just a few days.
- The Parma hams are actually transferred to nicely ventilated rooms and held on racks. The air is allowed to flow freely from the skin, when the skin temperature and humidity are favorable, for about three months. This fixed drying of the prosciutto di Parma provides it its distinct taste and the outer layer hardens.
- So as to keep away from the hams drying out or changing into too onerous, the skin is rubbed with a lard and salt combination.
- The prosciutto di Parma ham legs are transferred to aging cellars within the seventh month, the place there’s much less air and is lightweight. They are going to be hung in the cellar till curing is accomplished.
- The ultimate step, at at least 1 yr of age from the start of the method, is the fire-branding with the Parma Crown/Ducal Crown to certify that the product conforms to the consortium’s high-quality requirements.
The historical past of constructing prosciutto di Parma ham
The age-outdated custom handed down from era to era since Roman occasions implies that prosciutto di Parma is an Italian cultural icon. The dry-cured ham comes from native pigs and a convention of elevating pigs for meals in Italy goes again millennium.
The primary point out of the air-cured ham close to Parma was made by Cato the “Censor” in 100 BC , when he talked about the scrumptious taste of the prosciutto di Parma ham legs that have been salted, left to dry, and greased with slightly oil or lard and have been in a position to be preserved for lengthy durations of time without spoiling.
The Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma mentions on its website that even earlier, on Etruscan occasions, the realm was recognized for buying and selling dry cured hams with the remainder of Italy and even Greece, which makes prosciutto di Parma ham a meals custom that dates again 1000’s of years.
An fascinating truth is that the pigs raised in this space for making prosciutto di Parma ham are sometimes fed the leftover whey from the manufacturing of native Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, giving the prosciutto di Parma ham a singular, barely nutty taste that’s nice cooked or raw.
Find out how to eat and cook dinner with thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
Prosciutto di Parma ham just isn’t as salty as different prosciutto crudo or salt-cured meats and is subsequently generally thought-about candy. There are a lot of methods to get pleasure from this scrumptious Italian meal with a singular taste.
The best manner is sliced paper skinny and served as a lightweight snack alongside bread or crackers, with no cooking required in any respect. Actually, prosciutto di Parma ham is kind of a star on combined charcuterie platters alongside different hams or salt-cured meats like salami or mortadella or cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano or served with melon or figs.
The fragile taste and nice style imply that prosciutto di Parma ham will also be utilized in many recipes. Thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma ham is the proper addition to an omelet, might minimize into tiny items and sprinkled on high of a creamy pasta dish, or makes the properly stuffed panini bread filling with a slice of mozzarella cheese earlier than grilling.
What to search for when shopping for prosciutto di Parma ham
Prosciutto di Parma ham ought to at all times proudly show the Parma Crown image on its outer pores and skin. The color must be light-weight to medium pink meat with a backside layer of white fats, which might be eliminated if desired earlier than serving. The fats ought to by no means be oily, slimy, or yellow. It must also have a fragile, candy style and never be overly salty.
Is prosciutto di San Daniele the identical as prosciutto di Parma?
Whereas each prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele are prosciutto crudo ham from Italy, the primary is made in Emilia Romagna and the second in Friuli Venezia Giulia, two completely different areas about 4 hours away from one another through each in Northern Italy.
Each variety of prosciutto has a restricted quantity of salting, so they’re thought-about “dolce” or “candy” however San Daniele has a unique curing course of that features an urgent step that prosciutto di Parma ham doesn’t have. In fact, the microclimates of each area are very completely different, contributing to a unique style and taste profile.
What’s the dietary profile of prosciutto di Parma ham?
The prosciutto di Parma ham with the Parma Crown/Ducal Crown ensures a product that has solely Italian pork and sea salt to stop spoilage. No different ingredient or preservative can be utilized in making prosciutto di Parma, so you’ll not discover nitrates, nitrites, coloring, or some other dangerous substance in a slice of this delicate cured and salted meat with candy and salty taste.
Prosciutto di Parma ham is excessive in protein and has extra unsaturated (good) fat than saturated fat. Individuals who need to restrict the fats consumption in their cooking may also simply take away the white strip of fats earlier than consuming the pork product. Prosciutto di Parma ham has nutritional vitamins B1, B6, and B12 and consists of zinc, iron, and selenium.