Thursday, December 30, 2010
I'll only say this once. If you can find jamón ibérico, buy it. I don't care that it's $60 a pound (or more). It's worth every penny.
Jamón ibérico is a type of cured ham, made in Spain. Like proscuitto, only so much better. It must be at least 75% black Iberian pig, fattened exclusively on acorns. The finest jamón ibérico is called jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn). This ham is from free-range pigs that roam oak forests along the border between Spain and Portugal, and eat only acorns during this last period. The exercise and the diet has a significant impact on the flavor of the meat; the ham is cured for 36 months.
It tastes buttery. I know you're thinking, "How can ham taste like butter?" Well, it does. It tastes like ham and butter and every good thing all rolled into one sublimely fatty piece of meat. This is NOT for cooking with. This is for eating, all by itself. I've had boyfriends I liked less than this meat.
I got some for my parents' recent visit. I got a quarter-pound. It never made it off the paper it was wrapped in; I believe it saw the light of day for approximately 30 seconds before it was gone. It's a rare treat, but a delicious one.