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what is it?

Prosciutto is a hindquarter cut of pork that's cured, dried, and age. Thinly sliced, the best ones are ever-so-slightly sweet with just the right degree of saltiness, and a silken texture that melts in your mouth. Traditionally the best prosciutto is from Italy; Prosciutto di Parma, is best eaten plain or wrapped around fruits or vegetables. If the prosciutto is to be cooked—it can make a flavorful addition to soup, stews, pasta sauces, egg dishes—consider using a lesser grade.

Speck is prosciutto that has been smoked.

don't have it?

Thin sliced Jambon from Spain or other hams can make a good substitution, especially in cooked dishes. Just watch for salt content as good prosciutto is not overly salty.

how to choose:

Slicing prosciutto paper thin is practically an art form so buy your prosicutto from a trusted source; an Italian market is a good choice. Until recently most prosciutto made in the United States has been of a far lesser quality; however there are some artisanal makers of it worth checking out.

how to prep:

When cooking with prosciutto, add it at the very last minute to keep it from toughening.

how to store:

When sliced, prosciutto is layerd between pieces of butcher paper; store it that way, too, in the refrigerator where it will keep for a week or more. Cryovaced prosciutto, unopened, will last longer.

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