In Italy, you have to stop at the salumificio to complete your grocery shopping.
You can smell the salty scent of the salumi hanging from the ceiling as you walk into these small shops.
Bringing the authentic salumificio experience home with a perfectly aged whole leg to slice by hand all summer long is a great way to do that.
The Prosciutto di Parma DOP can only be produced from the hind legs of heritage breed pigs, which are raised in the 11 approved regions of Italy.
When it comes to prosciutto many people worry about slicing.
The simplest and most efficient way to slice prosciutto is to cut the prosciutto crosswise into strips using a very sharp knife.
So in this article, I will explain to you how to slice prosciutto at home.
How to Open the Leg?
Immediately after you receive it, make sure that you keep your leg cool.
When you are ready to open your leg, unwrap the vacuum packaging and cut it open.
If you see a little mold, it is normal, as Prosciutto di Parma is a completely natural product, and you can either wipe it off or cut it off.
Simply unwrap the vacuum seal, place it on a towel or cutting board, and let the leg breathe, cleaning off any excess sugna (rendered pork fat used to preserve the leg), or sweat with a clean towel.
How to Slice a Whole Leg?
Are you ready to start preparing your aperitivo board? If you want to get the job done, you don’t need a fancy meat slicer.
The paper-thin slices you find at the salumi and formaggi counter at your local Eataly are probably what you are used to.
We don’t expect you to have the same industrial tools at home, but luckily, slicing by hand is an art that allows you to appreciate the centuries of tradition behind each leg, giving you a textured bite that adds even more sensations to the palate.
Use the Right Knife
A good slicing knife is the first thing you should look for.
It should have a sharp, long blade that is wide and thick, and flexible enough to adapt to the shape of the prosciutto leg.
Don’t use a serrated knife when carving meat, a meat carving knife works great.
Clean off the Skin
Before you can cut or slice, you need to remove a section of the skin near the point of the cut. If you want to remove a lot of fat, try to cut the skin.
The fat is where the flavor is, and it also helps in preserving the leg of prosciutto.
Don’t remove all of the skin at the same time unless you are planning to slice the leg in its entirety.
Too much removal may expose too much fat, which will oxidize, so remember the skin also protects the leg.
Slice Against the Grain
If you don’t have a fancy holder, grab the leg by the thinner end and prop it up against a non-slippery surface like a wood cutting board.
Slice against the grain, start the cut near the top of the prosciutto leg.
If you want to leave a flat surface along the line that you cut, the cuts should always start from the skinny end and move away from the wider end of the leg.
How to Store Your Leg?
You can place your Prosciutto di Parma DOP back in the fridge once you have sliced it to your liking.
It’s important to keep it away from strong aromas, like onions, which can affect the flavor.
The leg can be wrapped and stored for two months or more.
Don’t worry if you see a little mold, just trim it away before you slice it again.
It’s important to keep the leg away from the oven and hot surfaces. If the leg gets warm and then cools back down, it can become rancid.
How to Pair Prosciutto?
There are so many options when it comes to partnering with Prosciutto di Parma.
Pair your cured meat with Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and a glass of frizzante from the same region of origin, Emilia-Romagna, to experience the microclimate of the Parma region.
You can use your slices to make the classic Saltimbocca for a main dish or to make a panino for a picnic treat.
If you want to build the perfect antipasto platter, you should get our guide.
What To Do With the Leftovers?
Italians aren’t quick to throw anything away and are known for their ingenuity in the kitchen.
That’s true for prosciutto as well!
If you have any leftovers from the end of the leg, add them to your next soup to give it a deeper flavor. You will be thankful for your soups and risotto.