Whether you’re at the local deli counter or visiting a market in Italy, picking out the right prosciutto can be challenging. What is the right price? The right thickness? What region should it come from? Choosing a prosciutto really comes down to how you’re planning on serving it. If you are arranging a charcuterie board, you’ll want something palatable and distinguishable; on the other hand, if you’re serving it on a panino, you’ll want something on the saltier side.
Did you know that the location of origin determines the salt content? You’ll find two of the most popular regions of prosciutto that are exported to the U.S. are Parma and San Daniele. Prosciutto di Parma is saltier than Prosciutto di San Daniele. The Parma is excellent with burrata and mozzarella, used as a filling for tortellini or served on a sandwich. The San Daniele is a little more delicate and great on a charcuterie board or paired with fruit like melon and figs.
Prosciutto should always be sliced paper thin. If you’re ordering from a grocery store deli, make sure the deli clerk slices it as thin as possible, they don’t always know the correct way to slice prosciutto!
There is also prosciutto cotto and prosciutto crudo. Cotto simply means cooked (slowly) and it is often lighter in flavor than crudo. Prosciutto cotto is delicious with sharp cheeses and crisp white wines. Prosciutto crudo is raw but it is dry-aged and intensely flavorful. Crudo pairs well with creamy cheeses, fresh fruits and wrapped around grissini.
When possible, it’s always best to taste test before purchasing but let’s be real – all prosciutto is good prosciutto! Just keep in mind what you’re serving and go from there!
Tip: If your local grocery store serves wine and beer, grab a glass and head over to the deli! I like to have a glass of wine and taste different meats and cheeses at the deli counter for a little snack! It’s the best way to determine which prosciutto is right for you too!