Spain's traditional raw dried ham can be seen in almost any bar. Directly to the ceiling hung imposing pork ham, and one of them, an opened, usually attached to a special machine at the bar. This is the ham (jamon).
The full name of this delicacy - "Jamon Iberico" (jamon iberico), that is, "Iberian ham", is grown for its production of particular Iberian breed of pig. This breed podrazdelyaetsya several varieties (for example, there is "Iberian bald" and "hairy Iberian"), but the consumer delicacy jamon such details to anything. These pigs are bred quite a large area in the southern and central parts of Spain - from the province of Huelva, where there are perhaps the most famous centers of production of jamon - City Jabugo and Aracena, and to the province of Salamanca, which matures in Guijuelo equally famous Jamon Joselito. To the west of this area begins Od Portugal, its border regions also famous for its ham, and the age-old Spanish-Portuguese dispute about whose same pigs and Jamon better not ever be completed. P>
Acorn - a head
In the Iberian pig is usually nemnogo mysterious kind - perhaps because drooping ears cover her eyes. And she also has relatively long legs and strong black hooves - pata negra, the so-called one of the best varieties of Spanish jamon.
The diet of these pigs, too, especially as the general way of life, and they feed on acorns in the open pasture on the wooded upland plockogoryah, where the air is dry, cold winters and very hot summers and sparse oak planting with large green lawns resemble a modern city parks. The best jamon give pigs that feed on acorns of cork oak every need up to 8 - 10 pounds of food a day. Acorns are important not only for the pleasure of the very pigs, but also for the quality of the future jamon. It acorns provide one set of taste which distinguish the best examples of Spanish jamon. It is noteworthy that the oleic acid in the acorns about the same number as in those varieties of Spanish olives from kotoryh make the best olive oil. That is, in some sense pigs themselves also sit on the very Mediterranean diet, which has recently been considered to be extremely fashionable and healthy. It is no accident manufacturers proudly mention the name of the product word bellota - "acorn", for example, Iberico de Bellota.
Curiously, Iberian pigs eat only acorns serdtsevinu, and spit out the shells. By the way, one of the factors limiting the production of high quality jamon - the number of oak trees with the "right" acorns. On average, it is believed that one hectare of pasture will be on a pig. If you increase the number of pigs t o drop quality jamon. In addition to acorns, these animals absorb a lot of wild herbs, which impart a unique smell and taste of the final product.
Pasture themselves arranged so that all pigs were on the go - for example, to water and running back into poiskah food. With this mode, most of the fat that they put off on the nape, slowly percolates down and permeates the muscled meat of the carcase. Future quality of jamon, not least the quantity and quality of fat.
For one and a half years right-fed Iberian pig weighs about 160 pounds. After cutting the carcass at slaughter ham for the future lay the ham in sea salt for a period at the rate of 1 day per 1 kg of weight, that is, for two weeks. All the while they are in special containers or simply stacked in a separate room at a temperature of 0 º to 8 º C. It is believed that the best for jamon salt is only in two places - in the neighborhood of Alicante in Spain's east coast and in the area of Cadiz in the west . Some manufacturers add a large crystal salt and a little more conventional dining fine grinding - c, so that the salt is not thicker than a peculiar air pockets and the meat prosalivalos more evenly.
Salted hams are washed, dried and hung a couple of years in special cellars with reliable natural ventilation. Over time eto ham dries hard to lose weight. Remains approximately 7 - 8 kg. From time to time experienced experts control the degree of readiness of jamon on his smell. To do this, they are certain points pierce the surface of the meat a special bone needle and sniffing it.
Wholesale buyers often have to wait for my order two - three years or more; maturing in the cellars of jamon actually already sold everywhere hanging signs indicating the owners. If desired, you can enjoy their property, which is not yet ripe. Typically, large prospective patrons bought jamon from another grazing or even unborn pigs, then you have to wait half a year, laid on fattening, and another two years to extract the actual jamon.
Cut into thin
Store ready to ham at normal room temperature, not in the refrigerator. The optimum temperature for consumption of 20 degrees, with her all the aromas and flavors are revealed in full. To cut off just enough to eat at once, then it is better to cover pocle cut a layer of fat - from drying out. For easy slicing jamon there is a special device - hamonera (jamonera), which fixes the jamon. That's right, that is very thin, cut Iberian ham can only be a special knife made of special steel - a narrow, long and very sharp. When cutting the thinnest layers gramotnoy jamon should melt in your mouth like a good melon.
Hamon necessarily included in the set of typical Spanish appetizers called "tapas" (tapas), they offer small portions at each bar and restorane. This meat is a delicacy great without any side dishes and supplements, except with olives and dry wine. Characteristically, the Spaniards almost never put a plate of jamon on bread, preferring to enjoy it in its natural form, and often take his bare hands, regardless of the level of environmental sredy officialdom - it could equally well be a popular city bar, a stylish restaurant or a diplomatic reception.
Most often, jamon use it as a cold starter, very popular in traditional Spanish cuisine combination - ham with melon. Despite the popularity of dishes - melon with jamon, a culinary delicacy application is very diverse, with jamon fried omelettes, it stewed with mushrooms and seafood, added to salads. This addition gives the food is not just a nice meaty spirit and extra satiety, but also a unique taste that is different and real Iberian jamon. Finally, it turns out wonderful ham bone soup.
As strange as it sounds in relation k meat, Spanish jamon can be considered almost a dietary staple food: excellent absorbed by the body, and the right fats are there, and acids, and cardio - vascular system, it is good. So in a sense, small, Nr regular jamon portions could be considered useful diet.