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How does our favorite American prosciutto stack up against imported, Italian offerings?
Published Sept. 1, 2014.
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What You Need To Know
Our favorite supermarket prosciutto is a standout among American cured hams, but how would it stack up against the Italian gold standards? Tasted alongside consortium-branded legs of Italian prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele, aged to their peak intensity at 24 months and hand-sliced at the deli, its flavor paled somewhat, seeming “less balanced” and “less complex.” We still like it as a supermarket pick, plus there’s an advantage to buying presliced prosciutto: You can purchase it well in advance—up to 120 days. That’s because the packages are sealed without oxygen, and thus keep much longer than prosciutto that’s sliced to order, which should be used within 24 hours. (Once a presliced package is opened, it, too, should be used quickly.) That said, when we have the opportunity, we’ll buy the Italian stuff—particularly prosciutto di Parma, the Ferrari of Italian cured hams, which, at $22.99 per pound, is still cheaper than our supermarket favorite. We guess there’s no denying the results of a couple thousand years of Italian prosciutto-making practice.
Everything We Tested
Tasters savored the “rich,” “gamy-sweet flavor” that was “very meaty, porky, [and] supple.” “The fat absolutely melts,” one raved. A “good salt balance” allowed tasters to appreciate this ham’s “funky/musty,” “intensely meaty” taste.
“A honeyed sweetness comes through with the briny richness of this meat,” one taster wrote. “The flavor is round; slightly gamy, with an earthy note,” agreed another, enjoying its “mellow meatiness” and “a pleasant, not overwhelming amount of salt.” Compared with the Parma, it was “missing some of that nuttiness.”
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.
Lisa is an executive editor for ATK Reviews, cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube, and gadget expert on TV's America's Test Kitchen.