How to slice a leg of Ibérico ham before a Ham Tasting?
If you are hosting a ham tasting session, you will need a master ham cutter who will lead the event. If you want to learn about this delicacy, and enjoy it, you must count on the ham cutter’s skill and have a good leg of acorn-fed Ibérico ham. We want to go a bit deeper in the way the ham should be sliced before starting a ham tasting.
Here are some ham-cutting tips:
1) Place the leg of ham firmly on the ham stand.
Which side should you start cutting on? We will start peeling it on the side with the least amount of fat. Fat helps to keep the ham so the side with the least fat is the one more likely to lose its natural juiciness, texture and flavor, so it is the ideal side to be had first.
The ham should be well secured and placed comfortably on the stand to aid the ham cutter.
2) ‘Peeling’ the ham. This consists of removing the fat, the moldy layer, the leather part of the skin and other natural secretions which have formed during the curing process.
The initial cut should be done downwards and perpendicular to the leg itself (about 10 centimeters from the hoof and done as though you were about to go all around the leg), and somewhere just above the ankle area. Following on from this you will have to cut at a tangent to ‘peel’ the leg on both sides.
If you are planning on eating the ham straight away you will ‘peel’ the whole leg, otherwise, only ‘peel’ the parts you will eat (as we said before, the fat will keep and protect the ham).
3) We will use a special ham-slicing knife, which has a long, thin and flexible blade, during the process. We will use a short, rigid knife for the initial cut and the ‘peeling’ of the ham.
Each cut will always be parallel to each other and our aim is to leave a smooth flat surface behind.
Ham slices should be very fine, almost transparent, as wide as the ham itself, and no longer than 6 or 7 centimeters.
Slices should be placed on a dish making just one layer of ham and, if you wish, the slices could slightly overlap each other.
4) The ham that is next to the bone and cannot be sliced –but can be carved out into irregular pieces– can be used in several dishes and stews. As for the bones, these can be sown into 10-12 centimeters pieces and used in broths and soups.
As with wine, the more you learn, the more you will enjoy it.
Would you like to learn more about ham, its characteristics, flavors and different Appellations of Origin?
How about an actual ham tasting session with an expert?
If you wish to have more information, or organize a private ham tasting or private event, contact us at:
Madrid Experience – madrid-experience.com
Tel: 0034 915 417 099 – 0034 644 355 651
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