There’s an old Italian joke that goes like this: “The only way to make your own prosciutto is to buy your baby pig a one-way ticket to Parma.” When said in broken English, it’s much funnier than it reads. Last fall, I decided to try to make my own prosciutto. Whether the idea was born of fiscal desperation (the desire to avoid paying $18-$25 per pound), or memories of garages with paper-bag covered pig legs dangling from the ceiling, or perhaps the Travel Channel special on the Parma region of Italy, the concept took hold. I began Project Prosciutto.
I didn’t have a baby pig of my own to send to Parma, so I went out and purchased a pork shoulder. Next, I Googled how to turn this hunk of pork into a cured meat delicacy. I washed the meat in vinegar, rubbed it with spices, pressed it in salt, rinsed it, larded it and hung it. All was well, no vermin were gathering and I had high hopes for my piggy. I waited in eager anticipation for six months, as I don’t have the proper conditions to give it a full 18 to 30 months.

The day finally came to taste my prosciutto. I sharpened my best knife and began the inaugural slice, when about ¼ of an inch in, I hit something, and that something was a bone. Unfortunately for Project Prosciutto, I neglected to have the butcher de-bone the shoulder. The bone ran through my prosciutto at such bizarre angles that I had no choice but to remove a boneless corner of my pig’s shoulder and reserve the remaining boney, yet oh so tasty, portion for flavoring soups.
Inevitably, I will be shopping for my prosciutto again. There are a few Italian delis in and around town, Nicolos’s, Belgiovine’s, Rosario’s? So where is the best prosciutto in Baristaville?

One reply on “Prosciutto di Baristaville?”

  1. Mastriano’s on Broad Street in Bloomfield has very good prosciutto di Parma, and very good everything else, for that matter. Tell Eddie that Conan sent you. They are right across the street from Holsten’s, whose wonderful burgers are produced from Mastriano’s meat.
    Or, if you find yourself in Gotham, go to Salumeria Biellese on 8th Avenue at 28th St. Try some of their culatello and you may never desire prosciutto again. I am looking for a place that carries prosciutto di Friuli around Baristaville, so if you know of one, please pass it on to me. Grazie!

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