Prosciutto cotto is Italian for cooked ham and refers to cured ham taken from the pig’s hindquarters. Traditionally it is eaten as thin slices wrapped around breadsticks or melon. It can also be used as the filling for a sandwich or with tomato, basil mozzarella, but these are mostly American adaptations.

Prosciutto is cured by a process where it is salted and air-dried. Traditionally the process can take up to two years and is completed in three delicate steps.

  1. First the ham is cleaned and brined with salt before being allowed to sit for few months.
  2. Next it is washed repeatedly to remove excess salt before being hung to cure in cool, dry place that is out of the sun. The air is critical to the quality of the ham as the moisture is drawn out.
  3. Once the ham is completely dry, it is hung at room temperature in a well-ventilated location. This is what we often see hanging in the butcher shop.

The most common form is prosciutto de parma, which is produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

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