If you’ve never had prosciutto then you may be wondering if it’s okay to eat raw, or if you have to cook it. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with this question and it kind of makes sense.
Prosciutto is a type of fine Italian ham, usually sliced very thin for serving or as part of a recipe. There are two types of prosciutto; one is called prosciutto cotto, which is cooked and does not require further cooking.
The other, prosciutto Crudo, is cured and salted pork. Prosciutto that is from Italy will typically note the city or province that it is from.
Do you have to cook prosciutto?
You don’t have to cook prosciutto, because it is a dried and cured meat. This ensures no bacteria or mold can grow on the meat, and most of the moisture has evaporated.
Just like beef jerky, prosciutto does not need to be cooked and can be eaten raw. It starts out as a raw piece of meat – an entire pork leg – but it is dried and cured for 24 months.
That is enough time to render it edible in its raw form, because the meat is no longer raw. It is cured and dried, like a salami or sausage. Even with prosciutto cotto, you are not required to cook it because it is already cooked as part of the seasoning process.
Read also: Is Prosciutto Raw ?
Can I substitute prosciutto for ham?
Yes, you can substitute in prosciutto in a variety of recipes that require ham. Everything from pizza to omelets to pasta dishes and more can include this delicious sliced meat.
In fact prosciutto can also be substituted with bacon and pancetta, even if they’re a little different.
What are some good ways that I can eat prosciutto?
One great way is to eat it as it comes! Those delectable salty slices of prosciutto carry so much flavor on their own that it stands out as it is. You can also eat it on a cracker or with some cheese.
One fantastic way to enjoy this meat is to pair it with pieces of fresh mozzarella. Add some melon such as cantaloupe or honeydew melon to your prosciutto and cheese. It’ll make for a delightful flavor combination that will have you impressed!
You can also enjoy it very simply by placing it within some bread. Try using French or Italian bread or even some flatbread crackers. You’ll have a delicious miniature sandwich or pairing that will leave the prosciutto as the dish’s true star.
Can you warm up prosciutto?
Yes, absolutely! Use traditional ways or what works best for you at the moment or for your planned use of the prosciutto. You can place it on a tray and warm it up in the oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes.
You can also pop it in the microwave oven for about thirty seconds with a paper towel on top. We recommend you place a bowl over it, since the grease may splatter.
Or you can pan fry it, especially if pairing with eggs or using as part of an omelet.
Should the prosciutto be refrigerated?
Once you open a package of prosciutto, you should refrigerate it. Typically the meat is cured and vacuum sealed, but opening a package will allow oxygen. From that point it should not be kept at room temperature.
Do your best to close the packaging as tightly as possible. Don’t keep opened prosciutto more than a week in the fridge. It will dry out and eventually develop an unpleasant flavor.
Can prosciutto be frozen?
You can freeze prosciutto if you’d like. Keep in mind that its optimal use will be in one to two months after placing it in the freezer. It will lose texture when thawed, so it might not be the best option unless you’re planning to fry it up and get it crispy.
Why can people eat prosciutto raw or as is?
It’s safe to eat prosciutto ‘raw’ or without having cooked it thanks to its careful salting and drying process. The curing results in an environment that is low in moisture and discourages the growth of bacteria.
Despite prosciutto starting out as an entire hunk of raw meat, the process is very thorough and the butcher takes a lot of care when curing the leg.
What cheeses go well with prosciutto?
Whatever you pair prosciutto with, make sure it’s not a very strong savory flavor. So Parmesan or Pecorino Romano or any washed brine cheese are off the table. They’re much too strong and you won’t detect the prosciutto, it will be too much.
Mozzarella is a great cheese to pair with prosciutto. Paneer is also great, as is a mild feta. Keep in mind that prosciutto is salty so Halloumi or other highly salted cheeses will be too much.
Your best bet is to go for a very mild cheese, like Edam, Gouda, Colby, Swiss cheese, Gryuere.
Read also: 6 Awesome Gouda Substitutes To Try Right Now
What type of fruit would pair well with prosciutto?
Any type of melon is a great fruit to pair with this meat, but there are so many great options to choose from! The saltiness of prosciutto and its semi-sweet flavor makes it go well with nearly any fruit you could pick.
Apricots, plums, peaches, and even mango, papaya, kiwi, or pineapple are exciting options, any of which would complement a stunning charcuterie board with prosciutto as the star.
Try prosciutto out for yourself and see what you think! Whether you’re a long-time fan of prosciutto or trying it for the first time, it’s a unique treat. It’s delicious at any time, whether on its own or paired with other flavors.
You don’t have to cook prosciutto since it is cured meat and will not make you sick if you eat it as it is. You can warm it up a bit as it happens with the prosciutto on pizza but you don’t need to cook it.
I hope this article helped you know what to do with prosciutto and how to get the best out of this delicious meat.