About Spanish cured ham
WHAT IS SPANISH CURED HAM?
Spanish cured ham is naturally cured, fresh air-cured pork from the leg or shoulder. The Spanish name for cured ham is jamón (or chamón).
HOW IS JAMÓN MADE?
Spanish ham is divided into jamón serrano and jamón ibérico.
Jamón serrano comes from the normal white pigs we are familiar with from our farms, while jamón ibérico comes from a unique breed of black Iberian pig, which has several undoubted advantages over the white breeds.
Thus, while jamón serrano is comparable to the Italian prosciutto crudo, jamón ibérico is a unique delicacy that is unparalleled in the world.
Compared to jamón serrano, jamón ibérico has a more intense and lasting flavour. The infiltration of fat into the meat tissues also makes the meat juicier.
Both hind legs and shoulders are used for drying. The hind legs are called jamón (ham) and the front legs are called paletas. Generally, however, the word jamón is used for both the front and the back.
How long does jamón last and where is it stored?
Store jamón at room temperature. It will keep for several months before cutting. Just be careful not to allow too high a layer of mould to form on the surface. If mould does appear, it should be wiped off with a cloth dipped in olive oil. After slicing, it is advisable to rub the cut with olive oil to prevent too rapid oxidation. The ham should be consumed within 2 months of slicing.
WHAT DO I NEED TO CUT THE JAMÓN?
You will need a thin, flexible knife to cut the slices themselves, a stand to hold the ham and any strong knife to clean the ham.
CAN THE HAM BE SLICED WITHOUT THE RACK?
Although it is possible, it is not recommended to slice the ham without a rack. However, it requires a great deal of skill and experience, as it is quite difficult to clean the leg without a rack and then cut thin slices from it.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR WHEN SLICING JAMÓN?
The slice should never contain yellow, oxidised fat and, of course, no hard skin. The ham should therefore always be cleaned of hard skin and oxidised yellow fat. When slicing the ham itself, we recommend that you follow the following advice:
The plane of the cut should be parallel to the longitudinal axis of the ham.
The slice should be as thin as possible.
The plane of the cut should be absolutely straight. The biggest mistake is the U-shaped cut, i.e. hollowing out the leg between the bones.
The bones should be cut away from the meat so that the slice separates itself when sliced.
THERE IS MOULD ON THE JAMÓN, SHOULD I THROW IT AWAY? IS IT SPOILED?
If mould appears on the surface of the ham, it is not defective. The mould should be wiped off with a cloth dipped in olive oil.