Tonight I decided that I could no longer wait to cut into my suckling Prosciutto. I have been waiting months, and would wait no more!!! The only problem with charcuterie is the wait, but as they say, "Patience is a virtue." Well, I had waited long enough. The prosciutto had probably been ready for a month or so, but since this was my first attempt at curing a ham I decided to let it go as long as I possibly could without giving in...(and I did....both!).
I cured the prosciutto, rubbing it down with just kosher salt for a month. I covered the exposed muscle with a mixture of lard, semolina and ground black peppercorn, and I then hung the little thing at room temperature for about 72 hours, and then in to my curing chamber it went where it has been at about 62' F with an RH of 75 - 80%, with a constant breeze from my trusty little cool-eaze fan. It went into the chamber some time around early September, so hung for a total of about 5 months. Here is a picture of the finished prosciutto before I cut into it.
The yield on this thing was pretty bad (obviously) however my main goal with this project was to a) cure a prosciutto succesfully and b) prove that my chamber works. I feel that I was successful at both, and am more than happy with how my prosciutto turned out. Here you can see my yield after removing the semolina paste, skin and one of the muscles.
Clockwise from top: Semolina paste, muscle, skin, rest of prosciutto.
Now onto the flavor. I was happy with the way the flavor turned out considering the drying conditions are not quite as good as a barn in Parma. The color is a nice deep red. The smell is like a prosciutto, but is a bit gamey smelling (but in a nice aged meat way). It's almost nutty and grassy. The flavor is salty, a bit of melon at the beginning, but the finish is really gamey and reminds me almost of a country ham. (I wish my grandfather still had the property he grew up on in Kentucky. I would love to get into the old 'summer house' and hang some country hams.) The only problem is since the muscle is so small, I have to cut it with the grain, otherwise the pieces would be way too small. So, it is a little tough when cut this way, but what can you do?
These 2 are pictures of the muscle before I removed the skin
This is the cleaned prosciutto before slicing
Sliced and ready for tasting.....