Characteristics: Leathery and earthy.
Uses: Stocks, brodos, braise and add to sausage or beans. The skin protects the meat from oxidation. And although it’s a rarely used part, typically only used in a classic cotiche e fagioli recipe, it can be used in other ways, too.
Tips: Remove, wash and blanch before cooking, but leave most of the fat behind beforehand.
Characteristics: Delicate flavor, a mix of salty and sweet (given by the fat).
Uses: Thinly sliced, diced for pastas, salads and more.
Tips: Thinly slice with the grain to offer customers a taste of the salty and sweet parts.
Characteristics: Sweet and complex.
Uses: Ground for spreads or meatballs, add to pasta or vegetables; simmered for stocks or brodos.
Tips: Removing the sinew and tendon is an important part of prep.
Characteristics: Buttery flavor and surprisingly sweet.
Uses: When slicing prosciutto, the fat must not be removed. If using it for recipes, it can serve as a replacement for butter, whip and add to a crostini or use as a marinade with herbs and spices. Try in sauces and stews to create a heartier, buttery flavor, perfect to complement creamy dishes or vegetables.
Tips: Add to vinaigrettes, giving them a slightly savory taste.
Characteristics: Where the salt from curing is most concentrated, creating a drier texture when the leg is first cut. It’s also a bit more nutty in flavor from the whey used in the pig feed from Parmigiano Reggiano production.
Uses: This section is thicker, making it ideal for pasta fillings. However, it can still be used for slicing.
Tips: Dice it up or crisp it to top soups, pastas, pizzas or salads.
Characteristics: Earthy essence.
Uses: Used in broths, sauces, soups and stews to give them a full-bodied taste.
Tips: For a more intense flavor, you can either roast the bone before simmering or add the surrounding scraps of meat and fat to the broth for an even more intense dish.