To find prosciutto, look in the deli area; it should be near the other pork meats. Prosciutto is dry-cured pork and is cut from the leg quarters of a pig. The cut is commonly cured for up to 90 days. At this point, the salt is removed and is air-dried for up to 36 months.
The result is a cut of incredibly tender pork, which does not need to be cooked. The meat is typically very tender, so much so that it’s nearly as tender as the fat itself. Prosciutto originated from Italy, where it’s considered a delicacy, which certainly is not an overstatement!
The pork also has a few notable health benefits and has a tremendous amount of uses, such as sandwiches, stews, or simply by itself. There are also a few tasty substitutes that can be purchased in place of prosciutto if you cannot find it.
Great Benefits of Prosciutto
Red Blood Cells
Prosciutto contains up to 5% of our DV in iron, which does not sound extraordinary. However, many diets have even less than that, leading to iron deficiency; and, ultimately, anemia. Iron is essential for producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to our muscles, brain, and other regions of the body.
Prosciutto is also high in vitamin B-12, which is critical for maintaining proper health. Vitamin B-12 plays a large role in serotonin production, strong memory capabilities, and overall performance. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to hair loss, anxiety, heart palpitations, and several more severe consequences if left untreated.
Zinc, which is found in Prosciutto, can help the body fight off cancer. Zinc helps us to rebuild our DNA when it’s damaged. Cancer can damage DNA, and if it cannot be repaired, the consequences can be even more severe. Feeble DNA structure or damaged DNA can make it much easier to become ill with cancer.
Prosciutto is salt-cured and goes through a few processes, so it’s challenging to find an alternative that provides competition. However, regular ham can do just fine, as long as you’re not in it for the “cured” taste that Prosciutto offers. You can make ham similar, though. You’ll just need to bake it with salt added, which will at least make it closer than what most other substitutes offer.
Pancetta is very close in taste to prosciutto, as it’s cured with salt. However, it does need to be cooked. It’s not going to provide the rich, melty nature of prosciutto, but overall, the flavor profile is very similar. The main downside is that it’s not as tender as prosciutto, but it’s not entirely tough, either. Cooking the pancetta at a lower but optimal temperature may help combat this.
Regular bacon is an excellent substitute, but you’ll need to follow a few steps to reach the optimal result. You can use any bacon that is cured with salt. First, toss the bacon, raw, into the water, and boil until the bacon is nearly transparent. Then, proceed to cook as usual with your recipe. Make sure the bacon is smoked, which will help the flavor profile match prosciutto!
Awesome Uses For Prosciutto
The sheer amount of prosciutto pasta recipes should be a testament to the combination’s popularity. Most of them seem to favor parmesan cheese, though you can pair it with whichever one you like best. We think this could make for a very delectable dinner.
For those of you looking for something a bit more light, a salad may be a good option. The most common recipes tend to feature mozzarella cheese. You can also garnish it with your selection of veggies and maybe some olive oil, making for a delicious and healthy combination.
How could we mention one staple of Italian cuisine and forget another? Prosciutto is a wonderful add-on to any pizza with the right complementary ingredients. Shredded mozzarella seems to be a common and tasty theme.
Prosciutto is a unique cut of pork, which is salted and cured for just a few months. It’s typically air-dried for up to a few years, which results in an incredibly tender texture. This also makes the pork have a very potent taste, which is very hard to get without these procedures.
Although the substitutes provide a close flavor, the texture is nearly impossible to get without the pork going through the curing process. This is also common and is done with beef steak and many other types of meat. The tasty cut of meat is certainly worth the buy, though, as it’s truly remarkable!