THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for March 2, 2015

TIP OF THE DAY: Prosciutto Salad, The Sophisticated Ham Salad

prosciutto-salad-olionyc-230

Slices of prosciutto topped with a salad of
baby arugula and watercress, topped with
Parmigiano-Reggiano. Photo courtesy Olio e
Piú | NYC.

 

When you hear the words “ham salad,” you think of diced ham, possibly the leftovers from a holiday ham or Sunday dinner.

Diced or minced ham is mixed with diced bell pepper, celery and onion or other favorite raw vegetables; perhaps with some hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, pickle relish or green peas; and bound with mayonnaise (we use a mayo-Dijon blend).

It’s one of those traditional Anglo-American sandwich salads, along with chicken salad, egg salad and tuna salad.

It’s also served sans bread on a bed of green salad ingredients, perhaps with a scoop of another protein salad or a starch-based salad such as potato salad, macaroni salad or chopped vegetable salad.

But there’s another, more sophisticated way to serve ham salad: as a first course with prosciutto or Serrano ham.

Prosciutto, or Parma ham, is classically served as a first course with melon in Italian cuisine.

At Olio e Piú in New York’s Greenwich Village, the chef takes a different direction, adding a salad of vinaigrette-dressed bitter greens (we like baby arugula, watercress or a mix) atop the prosciutto and topping it with some fresh-shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

 

WHAT ARE BITTER GREENS

Bitter greens are part of the larger family of leafy greens, which include the lettuces, known as “sweet greens.” The bitterness can be mild or strong. Greens harvested earlier in the season tend to be less bitter than more mature plants harvested later.

Many bitter greens are dark green in color, although some are pale (endive, frisée) and some are red or have red accents (amaranth, chard, radicchio). If you like your veggies, you’ve likely had more than a few of these:

 

  • Amaranth
  • Arugula
  • Belgian endive
  • Beet greens
  • Broccoli rabe/rapini
  • Chard
  • Chicory
  • Cress
  • Collard greens
  • Curly endive
  • Dandelion greens
  • Escarole
  • Frisée
  • Kale
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Nettles
  • Radicchio
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip greens
  •  

    red-white-belgian-230

    Not all “bitter greens” are green. Above, white endive and red endive, the latter also known as radicchio. Photo courtesy Endive.com.

     

    PROSCIUTTO & SERRANO HAMS: THE DIFFERENCES

    Both prosciutto and Serrano hams are dry-cured: salted and hung in sheds to cure in the air. Both are served in very thin slices. Country ham, preferred in the U.S., is smoked, and a very different stye from dry-cured hams.

    While prosciutto and Serrano hams can be used interchangeably, they are different.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, is cured for 10-12 months with a coating of lard. Serrano, from Spain, can be cured for up to 18 months (and at the high end, for 24 months). The differing times and microclimates affect the amount of wind that dries the hams, and thus the character of the final products.
  • They are made from different breeds of pigs: Prosciutto can be made from pig or wild boar, whereas Serrano is typically made from a breed of white pig.
  • The diet of the pigs differs. Parma pigs eat the local chestnuts, and are also fed the whey by-product of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Italian-made prosciutto is never made with nitrates. American made prosciutto, as well as both domestic and Spanish Serrano-style hams, can have added nitrates.
  • Prosciutto is considered more salty and fatty. Serrano is considered more flavorful and less fatty.
  •  
    MORE HAM

  • The different types of ham
  • American hams
  • Serrano ham vs. jamón ibérico
  •   

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.