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STUMPED: A TAIL OF PROSCIUTTO

January 2, 2011

Prosciutto, we all know what it is, dry-aged ham, normally aged for 2 years while hanging in a controlled environment in order to not spoil the meat. I’ve had horrible, I mean horrible prosciutto, and I’ve had close-your-eyes-to-enjoy-the-experience-like-it’s-a-blow-job good prosciutto.  The bad were always commercial brands, while the awesome was always artisanal or homemade.

Walk into the cold room of an older generation of Italians and you’ll find the pig leg hanging from a rope, along with homemade sausage, homemade sauces & marinated veg. You will also weep with joy & sorrow. Such great food and you can’t have it all. These are dying arts. I get funny looks for making my own jam and yet in less than an hour you can make a year’s supply with little effort.

Now back to the hanging pig leg. It normally hangs from rope or some type of hook that tightly clamps down the end of the leg, this stump is often discarded in charcuteries because it can’t produce those elongated slices that we all know well and wrap other aliments with. But this is a mistake. That stump, for which I know not its name, is precious. The meat is a bit tenderer and there’s tons more flavour to it than in the rest of the leg, this I suspect is because of the knot or restraint that prevents gravity from pushing down the precious flavourful fluids into the rest of the leg. I could be terribly wrong about this but all I know is that the flavour packs a serious punch.

What is funny is that I purchased a prosciutto stump today that would have cost over 25$ but since there’s no demand for it, my cheese guy at Copette + Cie let me have it for the cheap-give-it-away-price of 12$. Eaten alone or in a plate of delicious pasta (ie alla Carbonara) it’ll be awesome. So don’t miss out, ask your butcher, your charcutier, or whoever sells quality charcuterie and you wont regret it.

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From → Food

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