After the fall of the Iron Curtain, we received not only the coveted freedom, but also learned about some foreign delicacies. Recently, the Spanish national dish – jamon – has become more popular. It is a raw ham of pork.
But we know so little about how exactly this dish is prepared, what sorts are, which ones are the best. Yes, and how to keep the jamon, there are contradictory rumors. So our main information about this dish is a set of unverified information.
But even just choosing a jamon is not an easy question. It must meet certain requirements, which both guarantee its taste and quality.
Only by studying this topic in detail and you can learn how to get a real pleasure from a ham. So welcome to the world of facts and myths about this delicacy, debunking and confirming which, we will learn more about it.
Hamon is made from an Iberian black pig.
This opinion is true. Of course, not all pigs live in Spain. Otherwise, there simply would not be so much hamon in the world – the feet of poor Iberian pigs would simply not be enough to satisfy the needs of numerous gourmets. Many pigs are grown in much cheaper Poland, they are slaughtered, cut down, and then they are already being taken to Spain to dry up there. This jamon is then exported, but the Spaniards really prefer a national product for themselves. This scheme is not new, it is also used for Parma ham.
Jamon is “serrano”.
This word is heard by most buyers, which is why the brand “serrano” is so popular. In fact, this situation has developed outside of Spain itself. Experts say that the darker the jamon, the better. Accordingly, the best quality will be the “pata negro”, literally translated exactly as “black leg”. Next on the level are the varieties from Guijuelo. This is the name of the village in Salamanca, where an expensive and truly appreciated by the connoisseurs is produced. They even say that it is such a jamon that is perfectly used in the form of bribes for high-ranking Spanish officials. The knowledgeable buyers will also pay attention to the jamon from Khabugo. To add to your own worth, it’s a good idea to memorize the word humonero. This is the name of the machine for cutting meat, something reminiscent of the instrument of torture during the Inquisition. A hamon serrano is made from a white pig, such a jamon will have a white hoof.
The quality of the hamon determines its price.
So to think – an error. In fact, meat should be sampled. It happens that the well-publicized jamon, worth 200 euros per kilogram, does not surprise at all. That shade there is unnaturally yellow, then too much fat. You can find quite a good jamon for 30 euros.
To get the right hamon, the pigs feed their whole life with acorns.
This myth is replicated by the Internet. In fact, the right pigs are actually fed with acorns, however only a couple of months before slaughter. This is enough to ensure that the meat has the same flavor peculiar to the delicacy.
Jamon can be stored sliced in a vacuum package.
For a real hamon, even a room in the refrigerator is lethal. But it is there that the vacuum cutting is stored. It would be honest to call such a dish – pork with a taste of a ham. Simply often it is the only choice on store shelves.
Jamon in slices is more expensive than a single leg.
This statement is quite logical, because up to half the weight of the whole leg can be occupied by bone. This makes manufacturers often put a fixed price for the legs of certain varieties and origin, despite the spread in weight at times and up to a kilogram.
Any pork leg can be suitable for making a ham.
Pigs have two front legs, which are called pallets. They weigh 3-4 kilograms. The rear ones are twice heavier, they are the ones who are going to prepare a classic jamon. And the back leg is always more expensive than the front, if you take the price per kilogram.
The price for jamon can reach up to 1000 euros.
This is indeed so. In 2004, it was laid, and in 2007 the world’s most expensive jamon began to be sold. He was created on the farm Maldonado in Extremadura. Naturally, such hamons are not prepared every year, but with the concomitant of several successful factors. Only a few dozen such hamons come on the market. In the press, such a product is called only “authentic luxury for sybarites.”
Jamon, like any raw meat, is stored in large refrigerators at a temperature of 0 to 5 degrees.
Hamon is really considered a capricious product, but this does not mean that you must necessarily “live” in a huge refrigerator. It is enough for him and the usual, constant room temperature. You just need to protect the product from heat or cold. The best position for a jamon is the vertical position, in which it is fixed on a special stand, a hamonomer.
It is better to eat at once the whole leg of the jamon at a time.
To do this, you have to stock up or a drink, or a bunch of activated carbon. In fact, at the time of the first incision, the leg can be eaten for four months, provided that it is the used part that will be cleaned, not the whole leg. The meat of the jamon is raw, like oxidation, like any living product. To protect the meat on the cut, it’s easy enough to cover it. To do this, you can use several options at once. Suitable cut lard or skin, a clean cotton towel, you can grease the cut with olive oil or cover it with the same parchment moistened with it. It is important not to let this place dry out. In extreme cases, you can not cover anything, just in 4 months it will be delicious, but very expensive dry pork.
You can cut the jamon slices, cover with cellophane and so store in the refrigerator.
First of all, let’s say that in cellophane in general products are better not to store, this material was invented for transportation. For a jamon, this way of storing, due to all the same oxidative processes, will prove disastrous. At best, the product will do just fine for soup, and at worst it will absorb all the smells of the refrigerator, which at once can scare away. It is better to use parchment and foil. Just pack the jamon so that the foil does not touch it. However, one should not hope that such storage will be long-term. It is not worth pursuing. But you can try to cover the meat with a damp towel. And after staying in the refrigerator, you can restore some of the former taste properties a little, if you give the hamone a half hour at room temperature.
You can freeze Jamon.
This is not a product that should be subjected to such a procedure. It may be useful to freeze berries and fruit for the winter, in the cold it is good to store pelmeni. And having bought a rather expensive delicacy, it is better to eat it immediately.
If the chamon is moldy, then it has deteriorated.
Mold, coriander, cognac can smell of mold and this does not frighten anyone. Hamon is the result of the interaction of air and bacteria, its mold, in fact, has a natural and noble origin. Do not be a chemist to figure out what to do with it. You just need to take a clean and damp towel, moisten it with olive oil and cut the skin. But the middle can be eaten, there’s nothing to worry about. It is also worth remembering that if yellow lard has a rancid taste, then it must also be cut with a skin.
For transportation, the jamon is wrapped in food film.
This is permissible if transportation takes no more than a day. If the transportation is long, it is better to use parchment or a cotton bag. And the hoof should be covered with foil, so as not to frighten others.
There is no difference how to cut a jamon.
In fact, the ritual of consumption of the chamon includes a proper slicing. You can do this manually, which is preferred by real gourmets, or with the help of a slicer.It is believed that for the greatest revealing of taste and aroma slices should be thin, almost transparent, with a small strip of fat with the edge. Then the jamon in the mouth will literally melt. To cut the meat manually, you will first need a knife with a short and wide blade to remove the skin and unnecessary fat. Then a flexible and narrow knife comes in, sharpened to cut into thin slices. The same jamon should be located on a special cutting board, hamonier. Cut better then the amount of meat that will be immediately eaten.
There are different recipes for cooking a ham.
It is said that some varieties are marinated in special spices or even soaked in sea water. In fact, this is not true. The recipe for cooking a hamon is quite simple and has not changed for several centuries. To the meat there is salt and nothing more. The difference in taste is determined by the amount of salt, the humidity of the room, where the product is kept and the drying time, which is the most important.