The following few lines about prosciutto have been inspired by: Jeremy of DoBianchi with his post and photo essay on prosciutto di San Daniele, and Susan of Food Blogga with her delicious recipe for Wild Arugula, Cantaloupe, and Watermelon Salad with Prosciutto and Blue Cheese.
As I mentioned in a previous post, prosciutto is one of the two items that I buy as soon as possible after arriving in Italy. My husband likes to open the package of prosciutto (usually San Daniele) and eat slice after slice of it over granetti. The other famous Italian prosciutto crudo (raw) is prosciutto di Parma. When we visit my family in Perugia, my mother may buy prosciutto nostrano (local, i.e., produced in Umbria). Besides prosciutto crudo (of many other types, besides the ones mentioned) there is also prosciutto cotto (cooked). Speck is a special kind of prosciutto, disossato e affumicato (boned and smoked) typical of Alto Adige.
I have a few bites to share that include prosciutto. Besides prosciutto e melone (with cantaloupe), a classic summer dish in Italy, when meloni are plentiful and flavorful, the pairing with fresh fichi (figs) is also quite nice. My favorite way of eating prosciutto is with torta al testo.
According to my memory, my father and my aunt used to purchase half a pig every year, and we would then get raw braciole (pork chops) and salsicce (sausages), and cured meat: prosciutto, spalla (shoulder), capocollo, etc. We had a special rack to keep the prosciutto ready to be sliced. Besides prosciutto e melone for dinner, we would eat pane e prosciutto as a snack (plain bread, prosciutto and nothing else). I took all this for granted, as it had been part of my life for as long as I could remember.
There are a few interesting Italian expressions that include prosciutto:
- levarsi la sete col prosciutto (literally, to quench one's thirst with prosciutto): to do something that makes things worse (since prosciutto, being salty, is bound to make one thirstier)
- avere gli orecchi foderati di prosciutto (literally, to have one's ears covered with prosciutto): to be deaf, or to pretend to be deaf
- avere gli occhi foderati di prosciutto (literally, to have one's eyes covered with prosciutto): to be blind to reality, to obvious things.