Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
genarog

Prosciutto Cotto and the other Hams

Recommended Posts

I may be wrong but I would think that the difference between a Prosciutto Cotto and say Boar's Head Ham cannot be explained only by the use of differnet types of pigs. So I assume a different method must be used in their elaboration.

I find "regular" ham to be too sweet and moist. I must be in the minority here but I always ask myself why isn't every ham made like cotto. And of course, where does the white layer of fat go in regular ham? Does it go to heaven?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are tons of differences between prosciutto and normal American deli hams. Prosciutto is made from smoking, drying, and curing the ham in it's whole state usually over the course of several years. Your average deli ham is processed and directly packaged for resale. You may find these too sweet because the majority of the time there is both water and sugar added. Prosciutto is more expensive simply because it is more expensive and time consuming to make, also there is a much smaller market for it over your generic deli hams. There is no layer of fat because it's processed in directly to the meat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prociutto cotto just means "cooked ham" ... so I think it could refer to any Italian cooked ham of any type. What we usually think of as prosciutto is technically prosciutto crudo (cured, raw ham) ... or more specifically, the Parma style of prosciutto crudo.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are tons of differences between prosciutto and normal American deli hams. Prosciutto is made from smoking, drying, and curing the ham in it's whole state usually over the course of several years. Your average deli ham is processed and directly packaged for resale. You may find these too sweet because the majority of the time there is both water and sugar added. Prosciutto is more expensive simply because it is more expensive and time consuming to make, also there is a much smaller market for it over your generic deli hams. There is no layer of fat because it's processed in directly to the meat.

Cotto is cooked, crudo is raw. For example, terra cotta is cooked earth (the -a is femaie as in "mother earth.") I guess that makes the pig masculine, lol. No further comment necessary :D


Edited by Tom Gengo (log)

Tom Gengo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFAIK, in Italy prosciutto always means the same cut: the hindquarters. In other places ham is more loosely defined (Jambon Royale is a shoulder cut, for instance).

As far as preparation, I'd be surprised if all prosciutto cotto were the same. It's made in different regions in Italy ... ones that don't agree on many other culinary definitions.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I may be wrong but I would think that the difference between a Prosciutto Cotto and say Boar's Head Ham cannot be explained only by the use of differnet types of pigs. So I assume a different method must be used in their elaboration.

I find "regular" ham to be too sweet and moist. I must be in the minority here but I always ask myself why isn't every ham made like cotto.  And of course, where does the white layer of fat go in regular ham? Does it go to heaven?

I was actually referring to the cooked version of prosciutto.

I found more info here

As per the comments above 'prosciutto' is just the Italian for ham.

Crudo and Cotto are made by pretty radically different methods. One is not a 'version' of the other. Except that for premium (Italian-exported) products there might be a stricter adherence to the idea that 'ham' means thigh, ie upper rear leg, whereas 'ham' products can be from the shoulder, or even (whisper it gently) 're-formed' meat ... And some of those products illustrated on www.boarshead.com do look very very much like 're-formed' meat products.

Most commercial (cooked) ham products have water added beyond what could be naturally picked up from soaking in a brine bath.

Typically phosphate additives are used to hold that water in the meat.

The water adds weight (and hence profit).

Producers claim that consumers demand the "extra succulence" of added water.

Personally, I'd rather not pay ham prices for water.

But it does explain why you will commonly find "moist" products!

Adding water is not quite the same as injecting cure ("pumping"). Its a matter of how much water/cure you inject, and whether you artificially fix it in the meat. Injecting cure is faster (and probably more reliable) than soaking the meat in cure. You can understand how time=cost and that most producers have to go for cost-efficiency.

Injected doesn't automatically mean bad. But excessively "moist" whole-muscle product likely means injection with phosphates.

Don't US regulations demand an ingredient declaration? (And a statement about the amount of added water?)

Sweetness. Most Americans seem to like their products sweet. And cured pork (like ham and bacon) is no exception. I noticed from www.boarshead.com nutritional info pdf that some of their ham products can contain over 5% sugar ...

So, in summary, I'm not really surprised that you find USA commercial hams "too sweet and moist".

One solution is to make your own 'cotto'.

Its pretty easy with an ordinary ('roasting') leg of pork from the butcher or even supermarket (see the Charcuterie threads). And then you can adjust the sweetness (and other parameters) to your personal taste.

Cooked ham is very, very softcore Charcuterie. Well worth the experimentation though!


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooked ham is very, very softcore Charcuterie.

Agree. While I'm experimenting with other recipes from the thread and the book, I feel like I'm entitled to find good cooked ham at the the store. It's not that easy, but Cotto is available at many Italian stores for about $10 per lb. So when I can plan ahead that's what I get, and when I cannot I just skip the ham.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Prociutto cotto just means "cooked ham" ... so I think it could refer to any Italian cooked ham of any type. What we usually think of as prosciutto is technically prosciutto crudo (cured, raw ham) ... or more specifically, the Parma style of prosciutto crudo.

Technically right although there are a lot of variations within the varieties and regions of many countries other than Italy in which has been produced for yonks.

Jamon crudo is also another name for prosciutto crudo.

In my old country for instance we refer to sandwiches made with "crudo or cocido" and omit the word ham or in Italian "crudo e cotto" still the same. Since prosciuttto sounds quite a mouthful the word jamon is preferred.

Subtleties in rising a pig for processing will always exists and also differences exist in every region town and countries because of pigs diets, way of processing them this makes it almost impossible to establish a rank of preference for hams. Basically a difference is found in plant processed and home made hams. If anyone had dispatched a pig or two that person would know the work and processing involved in making hams and other smallgoods at the time of the killing or faena.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...