Jamon Iberico is a culinary delight that ranks amongst delicacies such as champagne and caviar or truffles. This cured ham originates from Spain and is officially called jamon iberico de bellota. The bellota part comes from the acorns that iberico pigs feed on, whilst grazing under Emcina oak trees. These acorns give the meat a very rich and smooth texture, which causes a true taste sensation. The ham is cured and aged like a good wine. Iberico ham ages for three whole years and is cured with the finest salts. Only the best and purest ingredients are used to create this amazing ham. Of course this amazing product is also available at both The Quay Hotel in Phnom Penh and The Latin Quarter restaraunt in Phnom Penh!
In the province of Extremadura, close to the Portuguese border, the iberico pigs prosper in the Dehesa climate. Iberico pigs lead a relaxed life wandering freely and grazing on acorns, grasses and herbs until they have grown heavy enough. No more than two pigs live on a hectare of land, ensuring that each pig has plenty of food to feed on. Because of their black hooves iberico pigs are often referred to as pata negra. The pigs legs are covered in sea salt to drain out any moisture after which the meat is hanged until the meat has matured and is ready to be sold.
Jamon iberico is an often used ingredient in haute cuisine and features on most menus of established restaurants. Cooking at home with the best ingredients such as this ham can be inspiring as well as challenging. The key to cooking with jamon iberico is to keep it simple. The strong flavor of this ham can get a little overpowering if you try to combine too many strong ingredients. An example of a great yet simple dish is to combine melon and iberico ham. Mushrooms are great with iberico and a rustic home baked loaf of bread becomes a culinary delight when served with this ham. Avocado and figs are great accompaniments to iberico and a luxury breakfast of scrambled eggs, iberico and tomatoes will leave you wanting more. Experiment with fresh flavors and any dish will be amazing with this high quality ham.
Contrary to popular belief, jamon iberico is not necessarily unhealthy to eat. The acorns that the pigs feed on contain a high level of oleic acid, also found in olives. This acid is held in the ham and research has shown that the acid in the ham can lower cholesterol. This is a well known fact in Spain and its the reason why iberico pics are often referred to as olives on legs. Iberico ham is great to enjoy with a good wine and can be used in tapas or pasta dishes. Its full flavor is a taste that should be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys great food.
The best jamon iberico is of course available in Spain but can also be bought from gourmet deli's. There are specialist hops that offer quality iberico ham on the internet, which can be a great solution if you are not able to travel to buy some iberico.