Sunday, December 7, 2008

Prosciutto bandage change

From Prosciutto

Here is a look (below) at a prosciutto di Parma style ham that is still in the process of maturing. I decided to take it down and wrap it in a new skein of cheesecloth after months of walking by it and being disgusted by the mold that was growing on the original wrapper. The mold was not anything that was going to contaminate the meat. But the ham was looking too much like something that one used to see in the subways of Manhattan during the Koch and Dinkins administrations or something in a Matthew Brady photo of civil war wounded.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating but it was seriously ugly and needed to be cleaned up. I estimate that it will be ready in 3-4 months.

Of course, now that the cold season is here and flies (and their miserable little flesh eating maggots) are no longer a threat, I could have done away with the cheesecloth altogether. But I chose to replace it because now that the air is very dry I'm hoping that the cloth will slow down dehydration of the meat enough to avoid over-drying of the "case" or first inch or so or surface muscle.

Also have a look at Mike Pardus' new horse bone needle (above, left and at the end of the slideshow). The needle is used to determine the grade of prosciutto via olfaction. When the bone, which is porous enough to absorb the aroma of the meat yet strong enough to withstand the pressure of insertion, is withdrawn from the prosciutto it is sniffed to determine if the meat is good enough to be a prosciutto di Parma or something less. I suppose that it could also be used to determine the degree of ripening in prosciutto and other types of salumi/charcuterie.

Not that I'll ever get a chance to use the thing since Pardus lives in NY and I live in Pennsylvania. But that's okay, just knowing that he would probably let me use it is good enough for me! :-)


charcuteire said...

And I have to wait two more weeks to start. I had a bit of a freezer problem the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving and while the top layer never got above freezing (23 F) and the hams were in the coldest bottom corner, I want to be certain they have 3 full weeks below 0.

The dry cured charcuterie plate that went out Thanksgiving eve disolved before my eyes. A half pound piece of Prosciutto duh Pomona, pepperone, chorizo and Tuscan Salami. These kids may all be Americans but they are also 1st and 2nd generation and with ethnic backgrounds of Scilian, Italian and German have all stayed true.



Nancy Heller said...

Hi Bob!

I've tagged you in a blog game. Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.


Bob said...

Year-old prosciutto from a pastured pig in April!

Believe it or not, that's rare, even in Europe.

Where will we start the bidding?

Scotty said...

May be a silly question, but is this one of those pieces you were doing with celery powder as opposed ti nitrates?

Bob del Grosso said...


No, this is cured with salt only, no nitrate. BTW, the salami that I cured with celery powder sucked. I will never do that again. There was not enough nitrate in the celery to change the color (indicating that it was not killing microbes) and it tasted like crap.

Bob del Grosso said...

Nancy Heller
I'm not sure I understand what you want me to do.

Scotty said...

That's actually a shame, that it worked out so poorly, I was kind of vicariously hoping it would work.

I spent some time after our meeting looking at various sources of inducing naturally occurring nitrates and came to the conclusion that the only way to do so was to make friends with Bruce Wayne or Alfred.unrebil

Scotty said...

PS unrebil is the word verification. I apparently typed it in the wrong field!

Bob said...

It's easy to see why Calvin Trillin named his island idyll fantasy in the Italian West Indies "Santo Prosciutto."