Saturday, April 21, 2007

Salami and Prosciutto

These are some of the treats that I got from Calabria Pork Store on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. The best part about the Pork Store was the variety of prosciutto's and salami's they had, and, the price! All of the delicious things I bought were only 5.99 per pound! If you go to a deli where they have more than the usual sopprosetta and genoa salami, try some new varieties. They each have their own unique flavors because of the way they have been cured; for example, some salami's are more peppery, and some are more garlicy. The dry air cured hams can also vary a lot in taste; there is the regular prosciutto, but you can also get varieties of pork which have had a combination of air drying and smoking. I love the smoked varieties of pork.

Prosciutto is a delicious savory treat. Try wrapping prosciutto around figs, or cantaloupe, or asparagus. The balance of salty and sweet can be extremely delicious and will have you coming back for seconds and thirds. Prosciutto can also make a delicious sandwich; try it on rosemary focaccia, with a little balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, fresh mozzarella and a ripe tomato. Or eat it plain with a nice piece of whole grain or nutty bread. I had prosciutto with a walnut baguette once and it was incredibly tasty.

Above is a photo of how you would traditionally cut prosciutto; I saw this traditional method being used in Italy at a market in Rome. The iron frame holds the meat in place, and you use a special foot long knife to gently slice across the top of the meat in a back and forth sawing motion. Slicing a prosciutto like this definitely takes a lot of practice and it's fun to observe and watch people slicing the meat this way.

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