This week on the Butcher's Block, we have three fine artisan pork products. The diversity of flavors that result from variations in the curing process as well as the addition of spices is tremendous. I enjoyed each of the following three meats, which I'm eager to share with you now.Fermin's Jamon Serrano
, from Spain: Jamon Serrano translates as 'mountain ham.' Serrano is actually a breed of pig that orgininates in the Sierra Mountains in Spain. The ham is raised, slaughtered, and cured in Spain. Traditionally dry cured, each ham is hung to dry in the cool mountain air where it ages for over year. While most hams today are produced in temperature-controlled curing facilities with artificial conditions, these hams are cured by the changing seasons and the action of salt over time.Salumeria Biellese's Sopressata Toscana
, from New York City: Unlike traditional salami, Sopressata is a much coarser grind. In this case, a Berkshire shoulder is coarsely ground and mixed with some fat to give the desired marbling. After being seasoned with traditional Tuscan spices, this Sopressata is cured and dried. This is a tradition that dates back centuries. Residents of southern Italy are thought to have taught Roman soldiers how to preserve pork in this way.La Quercia's Prosciutto Americano
from Norwalk, Iowa: A fine quality dry cured ham made with methods adapted from Italy. For three and a half years, Herb and Kathy Eckhouse lived in Parma, Italy. Their ambition to create their own prosciutto was eventually realized and they started La Quercia in the US. Free from the limits of Italian tradition, which include trim, handling, salting and curing, they have achieved an American product that stacks up well against fine European hams. Made from organic Berkshire cross pork, this prosciutto contains no antibiotics, animal by products, added hormones, or added nitrates/nitrites.
Be sure to check back next week for more artisan charcuterie!