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Adopt a Prosciutto


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Salumi is now running an adopt a prosciutto program. Participants are given an uncured ham, which they then visit and work with regularly. Under Armandino Batali's expert direction, you prepare, rub, hang, and cure the meat in the traditional manner. 15 months later, you are the proud owner of 17-20 pounds of pure pork heaven.

The cost is $150, which on a per-pound basis is hard to beat. Stop by and see Armandino with your checkbook. The process will begin in about three weeks. I signed up today and am really looking forward to it.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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...15 months later, you are the proud owner of 17-20 pounds of pure pork heaven...

With my luck mine would be switched at birth and I'd come home with someone else's prosciutto. :sad:

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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Oh.

My.

God.

Is this limited to happening on certain days of the week? I'm totally game for giving it a go. Hell, I already make product I won't get to taste in it's final form for a year.

[edited for spelling]

Edited by Placebo (log)

Bacon starts its life inside a piglet-shaped cocoon, in which it receives all the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and tasty.

-baconwhores.com

Bacon, the Food of Joy....

-Sarah Vowell

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What a totally cool and fun idea! Did Armandino say how many visits the adoptee would require? At $20 a pop for the ferry, it might turn out to be a really big investment for me.

Salumi is pretty close to the Seattle ferry terminal, so you could walk on if your ferry ends up in Seattle..

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Ok, I might get a lot of flak for this, but the piggie prosciutto at Salumi is my least favorite of all the things Armandino makes. I adore the lamb version, swoon over the soppresatta but the proscuitto crudo is missing that nutty taste that the good ones from Italy have.

regards,

trillium

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  • 4 weeks later...
Salumi is now running an adopt a prosciutto program.  Participants are given an uncured ham, which they then visit and work with regularly. Under Armandino Batali's expert direction, you prepare, rub, hang, and cure the meat in the traditional manner.  15 months later, you are the proud owner of 17-20 pounds of pure pork heaven.

The cost is $150, which on a per-pound basis is hard to beat.  Stop by and see Armandino with your checkbook.  The process will begin in about three weeks.  I signed up today and am really looking forward to it.

Just got back from my adoption. It's pretty much as vengroff describes. Mr. Toast and I are sharing one. After going through some initial stuff like naming it, and Armandino offering a quick explanation of HACCP, we went into the back cooler and found five hams sitting on the tables, each weighing between 19.75 pounds and 23.25 pounds. The pigs were slaughtered on Tuesday. Ours weighed 21.75 pounds and we expect to lose about 22 percent in weight when we pick it up 15 months from now.

After weighing we then multiplied the weight by 1.5 and divided the product by two. This is the weight (in ounces) of a mixture of nitrate, dextrose, and table salt, that we rubbed into the ham. This took about 15 minutes. The mixture is difficult to rub in, but after a while it starts to get a glaze-like consistency and it sticks quite easily to the ham. We threw the hams into tub where it will sit in a 40F cooler.

We return in two weeks to rub more of the mixture in, and then two weeks after that for another rubbing. After that it hangs in the cooler for about 14 months.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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Ok, I might get a lot of flak for this, but the piggie prosciutto at Salumi is my least favorite of all the things Armandino makes.

You won't get any flak from me -- it's definitely substanded compared to every other meat he sells. And there just happens to be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this -- it's the only meat in the shop Dino doesn't cure himself. That's why when it's on the board it's listed as ADP prosciutto (or some nonsense starting with A).

Hopefully now with the adopt a proscuitto program he'll start curing his own. Although I have my doubts as to whether it'll compare favorably with proscuitto di parma since, as I understand it, there making hams there like they've had for centuries and hanging them in the wide open and the pigs have strict local diets. I don't know about Dino's local pigs, but I know for a fact that those hog legs are curing in his new facilities.

That's not to say that these proscuittos won't be good, hell, they'll be great but they might not be ethereal.

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Although I have my doubts as to whether it'll compare favorably with proscuitto di parma since, as I understand it, there making hams there like they've had for centuries and hanging them in the wide open and the pigs have strict local diets. I don't know about Dino's local pigs, but I know for a fact that those hog legs are curing in his new facilities.

That's not to say that these proscuittos won't be good, hell, they'll be great but they might not be ethereal.

Yup, it also has to do with the Mediterranean air. People in other places have tried to duplicate what they do in Parma, but they can't. Waverly Root wrote a great book back in the '50sThe Foods of Italy that discusses how the local climate influences prosciutto production.

He also wrote another great book The Foods of France.

Oh, he said his pigs came from a farm near Mt. Rainier. I didn't ask what their diet was.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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Ok, I might get a lot of flak for this, but the piggie prosciutto at Salumi is my least favorite of all the things Armandino makes.

You won't get any flak from me -- it's definitely substanded compared to every other meat he sells. And there just happens to be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this -- it's the only meat in the shop Dino doesn't cure himself. That's why when it's on the board it's listed as ADP prosciutto (or some nonsense starting with A).

Hopefully now with the adopt a proscuitto program he'll start curing his own. Although I have my doubts as to whether it'll compare favorably with proscuitto di parma since, as I understand it, there making hams there like they've had for centuries and hanging them in the wide open and the pigs have strict local diets. I don't know about Dino's local pigs, but I know for a fact that those hog legs are curing in his new facilities.

That's not to say that these proscuittos won't be good, hell, they'll be great but they might not be ethereal.

It's amazing what diet can do to the texture and taste of hog meat. It took me a little while to adjust to cooking the half a hog we bought that grew up eating a lot of whey. I'm sure that hanging outside makes a difference too.

What I'd really like to do is go down south and buy a bunch of country hams that have been hanging in barns and have a taste-off. Now there are some hams I'd love to adopt.

regards,

trillium

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I went down there twice, and emailed them twice about it.. I guess I didn't get in. Oh well

Don't give up. Armandino can be a little, um, disorganized, and he may have just misplaced your info. If I understand correctly, he'll be doing additional prosciutto classes in the coming months.

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Here are some photos from my initial session with Armandino:

We each began with a fresh leg of pork, like these:

i9507.jpg

Here is mine, weighing in at 19 lbs.

i9508.jpg

This was actually one of the smaller ones. The largest was 23-1/2 lbs. These came from pigs weighing just over 200 lbs. Armandino said his son Mario has cured 80 lb legs from 500 lb pigs, but that animals that size are extremely rare these days. It's simply not worth the expense for farmers to raise them for that long.

Here's another shot of my raw pork leg, from the other side.

i9509.jpg

Once we had made out selections and weighed them, we computed the precise amount of Armandino's secret curing rub we would need and weighed them out. 18.25 oz. for me.

i9510.jpg

Now it was time to get rubbing. We added the salt bit by bit and carefully rubbed it into the meat.

i9511.jpg

It's important to cover all the nooks and crannies.

i9512.jpg

As we rubbed, the salt began to draw the moisture out of the meat. By the time we were finished, our hams were covered with a glaze and the exposed meat had already begun to darken noticably.

i9513.jpg

i9514.jpg

In a couple of weeks I hope to post some more photos. It will be interesting to see the changes that take place over time. One session down, fifteen months to go.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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  • 1 month later...

Two months later we have done three salt rubs, my procsciutto has dropped two pounds of water weight, and it's time to rub with olive oil and hang to cure. Up to now, the hams have just been resting and sweating in tub like this one in a cooler.

gallery_1327_67_1094865663.jpg

For a while there was a wet salty slime on the suface as the water was drawn out, but now all excess moisture has evaporated and the salt on the surface has crystalized. Here's a close up shot of the hard dry salt crust.

gallery_1327_67_1094865752.jpg

We washed the salt crust off in the sink before the next step, which is rubbing with olive oil to create a nice moisture seal.

gallery_1327_67_1094865817.jpg

Each ham took about a cup of olive oil, which we massaged in, just as we had done with the salt in the past.

gallery_1327_67_1094865694.jpg

gallery_1327_67_1094865599.jpg

From there, it was into the curing room to hang. Here's Armandio up on a ladder hanging the pork.

gallery_1327_67_1094865055.jpg

And here they are, hanging to cure. From this point on it's largely a matter of time, with just a few more rubs to keep the surface from drying out too much.

gallery_1327_67_1094865786.jpg

The hams on the far right of this shot have been hanging for a month, showing what we have to look forward to.

gallery_1327_67_1094865632.jpg

Edited by vengroff (log)

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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We washed the salt crust off in the sink before the next step, which is rubbing with olive oil to create a nice moisture seal

Oddly, our prosciutto didn't have this salt crust and maybe because of that we didn't give it a bath before rubbing it with olive oil.

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  • 6 months later...

It's been a while since my last post on this topic, but I've been regularly visiting the ham, and rubbing it down with olive oil. It has begun to take on a deep mahogany color that is just beautiful. Yesterday, Dino showed us how to use a traditional horse bone tool he brought back from Italy to probe the meat. You push the sharp end into the meat and then pull it out and smell it to see how the curing process in going. It looks like we have a few months to go, but things are definitely moving forward.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera yesterday. I'll see if I can sneak in sometime soon and take some more photos.

Armandino had some photos he brought back from Italy of a curing facility the size of two football fields where 300,000 hams cure for up to two years each. The entire operation is run by a staff of 18, who still hand-rub each and every ham in the traditional manner. I told him if the Mariners have another bad year he should consider taking over Safeco Field.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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