In Italian, “prosciutto” means ham, and “cotto” means cooked. (By the way, uncured ham is called prosciutto crudo.)
Why not make your own?
Why not make your own?
The moist texture and deep flavor come from steeping the meat for days in a “saumure” (brine) liquid and then cooking it slowly.
The dish is the fruit of wisdom from “the days when there were no refrigerators,” according to Kuniaki Arima, a chef of Italian cuisine.
“Time nurtures flavor,” he adds.
For prosciutto (amount easy to make):
500 grams of pork shoulder loin (buta-kata-rosu)
500 grams of pork belly (buta-bara)
1200 cc water
55 grams salt
20 grams sugar
Herb vegetables and spices (1/4 coarsely chopped onion, halved large clove garlic, 1 dried tomato, 10 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, green part of green onion, some ginger and a red chili pepper pod)
Turnip, green onion, radish and so on
Whole-grain mustard, peppercorns, olive oil
Additional cooking tools:
Thin cotton cloth or gauze, kitchen string, thermometer
Place salt, sugar, herb vegetables and spices for saumure liquid in pot and add water. Boil over medium heat until vegetables are cooked. Cool to room temperature. Remove chili pepper pod.
Prick surface of the cuts of pork with bamboo skewer so flavors can seep in. Tightly wrap each cut of meat with cloth. Tie horizontally and vertically with kitchen string. Leave the end of the string long.
Place meat in container and pour in liquid so it covers meat. Steep in fridge for five days.
Cut accompanying vegetables into large pieces before cooking meat. Place meat in thick, deep pot. Tie end of string to pot handle. Pour in enough water to cover vegetables and meat. Stick in thermometer and place over low heat. When it reaches 80 degrees (176 degrees Fahrenheit), maintain the temperature and cook for about 40 minutes. (Do not boil.)
Remove pot from stove and cool. Remove string and cloth and thinly slice meat. Serve with vegetables and dressing. When keeping meat wrapped in cloth, place in fridge with liquid. Eat within two to three days. Cooked liquid may be used for soups.
Estimated time: 110 minutes (50 minutes to prepare before steeping, 60 minutes to cook). Five days to steep not included
Nutritional information (per 100 grams of meat only): kilocalories, about 230 for shoulder loin; about 345 for pork belly, sodium content, 1.0 gram for each