So Parma Ham and prosciutto are the same thing, right? Yes and no. Prosciutto is a general term while Parma Ham refers to a specific version that can only come from Parma to receive the name. But whichever you choose from the supermarket or the deli, there are loads of great recipes that make use of them and here are some of our favourites.
What is prosciutto?
Prosciutto is a dry cured ham that is served sliced very thinly and referred to as prosciutto crudo when uncooked or as prosciutto cotto when cooked. It can be made from either pig or wild boar and takes anywhere from nine months to two years, depending on the process used. There are a number of regional specialities of prosciutto using slightly varying techniques of ingredients in the curing and one of the most well known of these is Parma Ham or prosciutto di Parma. Another is prosciutto crudo de San Daniele from the San Daniele del Friuli area of Italy. The Parma ham version has a slightly nutty flavour that comes from adding Parmigiano Reggiano whey to the diet of the pigs while the San Daniele version is darker in colour and sweeter.
Parma ham works very well with ripe figs and for a starter salad, they make a very nutritious option when green beans, fennel bulb and pineapple are added. Simply cook the beans first then drain under cold water.
For the dressing, mix olive oil, vinegar and lemon in a mixing bowl before adding the green beans, salad leaves and two tablespoons of fresh mint as well as ¼ bulb of fennel and 2 shallots. Arrange this mix onto a plate and place the fig halves onto them followed by some shredded Parma ham and place some sliced pineapple beside.
The addition of pineapple adds an extra something good to the meal as it contains a substance called bromelain, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat arthritis. It is also great for protecting against heart disease and may even break up blood clots.
Main course Parma ham recipes
Chicken and Parma Ham are great friends on the dining room table and make for a simple meal. For the easiest idea, wrap each chicken breast or fillet in Parma Ham then cook in the often until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with a choice of sauces, such as barbecue or even just as it is. For something a little extra, take two teaspoons of basil, 1 of salt, 1 of black pepper and four cloves of garlic. Mix in a bowl with a handful of chopped thyme and add four tablespoons of butter. Spread the butter mixture over the chicken then wrap the ham around it and sprinkle with grated mozzarella. Cook in the oven for around 40 minutes at 180 degrees.
Ham and cheese always work well together and the same rule applies to Parma Ham. For an unusual combination, consider white stilton for the cheese and add with these other ingredients for a fresh tasting salad. To make the dressing, combine the zest and juice of 1 lime, ½ teaspoon of runny honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, seasoning as required. Arrange salad leaves on the plate with chunks of white stilton, some toasted almonds, torn mint leaves and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with the dressing and add slices of Parma Ham to finish.