What are the similarities and differences between jamón serrano vs prosciutto? These hams look alike, but they are from different countries. The prosciutto ham is from Italy, and the serrano is from Spain.
Somehow, cured meats are finding their way into high-end American markets. But, since they are not a big part of the US culinary history, most Americans can’t tell the differences between the many varieties.
Jamón serrano is a type of ham gotten from white pigs or commercial breeds like Duroc. In contrast, prosciutto is made from the hinds of pigs’ legs.
In today’s article, we’d compare the Spanish jamón serrano and the Italian prosciutto so you can know which of them you should be using.
What is Jamon Serrano?
Jamon Serrano is a type of ham (cured meat) from Spain. Actually, Jamon is the Spanish word for “Ham,” and Serrano means the ham comes from Sierra (mountain range). Virtually all hams from Spain are generally called Jamon serrano.
The name has also traveled internationally; even in the Netherlands, you’d find Jamon serrano; this indicates that the ham is from Spain. Jamon Serrano is prepared like prosciutto; it is cut into tiny slices and can be eaten raw.
The curing time of Jamon serrano is about 18 months, which is longer than the curing time for prosciutto.
What is Prosciutto?
Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham. It is simply a type of dry-cured meat from Italy. Usually, prosciutto is thinly sliced and served raw (prosciutto crudo). Although you’d find cooked ham in Italy, it is called prosciutto cotto (simply cotto).
In Italy, different regions have their versions of prosciutto; the variations look differently and also taste slightly different. The prosciutto is generic, and thus it’s attached to all the varieties of ham from Italy.
The Italian prosciutto is similar to the Spanish Jamon serrano. This article details the differences and similarities between the two.
Jamon Serrano Vs Prosciutto | Key Differences
The major difference between these types of hams is the country of origin. Jamon serrano is from Spain while prosciutto is from Italy. Also, the Spanish Jamon serrano takes a longer time to cure.
Another difference between these two types of ham is the flavor and texture. Somehow, the Spanish Jamon serrano looks darker because it is cured over a long time. Asides from these few differences, there’s nothing else unique to these hams.
Below is a detailed comparison of these two popular hams produces in Spain and Italy.
|Curing Time||Up to 18 months||9 – 24 months|
|Pig Breed||Landrace breed of white pig||All breeds of white pigs|
|Cutting||Thinly sliced||Thinly sliced|
|Ingredients||Salt only||Salt only|
Similarities Between Jamon Serrano and Prosciutto
There are a lot of similarities between these hams. Firstly, they are thinly sliced and served raw or cooked. Secondly, the preparation of these hams follows almost the same process, except that Jamon is cured for a longer time.
Both hams can be added to different meals such as pasta. They can be prepared in different forms and styles depending on the type of recipe you’re preparing (or requesting for).
What’s Better About Jamon Serrano?
Jamon serrano is a fancy tasty ham; it is not basically the tastiest you’d find around the world, but when you want to compare hams from Spain, Jamon Serrano (which is actually a generic name) is delicious.
What’s Better About Prosciutto?
To Italians, prosciutto is the best type of ham. Well, it is actually tasty and enticing, and you can use it to prepare different recipes. Prosciutto takes a shorter time to cure, and it’s also a generic name for hams from Italy.
Which Should You Buy?
You may not find Jamon serrano in every restaurant in Italy, but you’d surely see it in many restaurants in Spain. The same applies to prosciutto; it’s a common food in Italian restaurants, but you’d rarely find it in Spain.
That said, your location is what determines the one you’d find. However, if you’re outside Italy and Spain, you can request either of them. Prosciutto can be substituted with Jamon Serrano and vice versa.
Note: Salt is the only ingredient used in preparing ham. The international regulation forbids using chemicals and additives.