So I picked up some morsels of information from Riccardo Marino over the weekend- and I thought I would share them with you!
– Did you know that all whole prosciutto are from female pigs only. The male pigs have a taste that is too strong for the prosciutto.
– Also, prosciutto is only the leg of the female pig. Spanish jamon uses the shoulder.
– All San Marino prosciutto are hung/aged for a minimum of 12 months. The one we enjoyed at the Sagrantino Sessions had been hung for 16 months.
– The wax-like mixture on the exposed meat surface is made up of fat, salt & spices. This is placed onto the prosciutto at about 6 months of age, where the outside of the leg has cured to a much larger degree than the inside. Once this mixture is placed onto the exposed part of the leg, this slows up the maturation of the outside of the leg & the inside catches up.
– To test that the prosciutto is ready and the flavour has fully developed, Riccardo uses a sharp piece of horse bone, made into the shape of a large needle. He pushes this into the leg, and the horse bone absorbs the flavour of the meat. Riccardo is able to tell how the curing process has gone by then smelling the horse bone. Amazing.
– The Marino family were part of SBS’s ‘Italian Food Safari’ Episode 6 http://www.sbs.com.au/shows/italianfoodsafari/episodes/detail/episode/2622/season/1
Highly recommend you get down to the markets and chat to Riccardo and his team. I have a feeling we may be doing a few more events in the future with Riccardo and San Marino Meats- especially when he started telling us about his porchetta’s and what we could do in our wood oven!! Mouth is watering again….