Prosciutto di Norcia IGP

Norcia, Umbria

Prosciutto di Norcia IGP

To make a tasty and high quality prosciutto one needs a pig of 150 to 190 kg (330 to 420 lb), if it is smaller it absorbs too much salt, if it is larger it is too fat and tends to remain moist inside. The pig should eat whole weat flour, cornmeal, mixed together (100kg or corn and 20kg of flour). Adding acorns to this diet would work well too, but definitely not industrial-style feed.

HOW TO MAKE PROSCIUTTO

Cut the pig’s leg, leave the skin on, on the inside part there is a very thin veil that should be taken out otherwise the meat will not absorb the salt. Take 250 g (1 cup) of garlic, peeled and crushed, better if ground in a meat grinder, then spread it all over the prosciutto, also on the side of the skin. Then put it on a table, in a fresh room, near a window so that air can enter, while one should lay some nylon cloths and sawdust under the table otherwise the floor will be damaged. Then one takes 200g (almost a cup) of black pepper, 2.5kg (5lb) of coarse salt, and spreads the mixture on all sides of the prosciutto. If the weather is too dry close the window and wet with a glass of white wine once in a while on top of the salt.

For every 10kg of pig, it should correspond 1 kg of prosciutto, so if the pig is 150kg, the prosciutto will be 15kg, on the table a 15 kg prosciutto will stay for 15 days, while a 19kg prosciutto for 19 days. The salt and pepper amounts are the same for both weights. If the weather is very wet, between the table and the prosciutto one should put some sticks, to let air circulate and move a little the prosciutto. After the time indicated above the salt should be eliminated with a brush, the prosciutto is hung then in a fresh and ventilated room for about 40 days.

After this, it should be washed in water to eliminate the remaining salt, let it dry for a day, then with a knife one should scrape the fat areas, then spread this fat on top of the prosciutto, closing the little veins that formed in the drying process, then take 100g of pepper and spread it on top of the meat (it should attach easily to the fat). Hang it again in a fresh ventilated place, possibly protected from bugs using some mesh bags. It is ready after 150 days from the first salting, the same goes for the shoulder.

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