When it comes to cured meats, few are as iconic as prosciutto.
This Italian specialty is made from a ham that has been salt-cured and air-dried for months, resulting in a delicious delicacy that is often enjoyed or used as a flavoring agent in dishes like pasta carbonara and arugula salad.
However, prosciutto can be expensive, and it may not be readily available at your local grocery store.
Fortunately, several substitutes can be used in its place.
In this article, we will look at five of the best substitutes for prosciutto.
What is Prosciutto?
Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham typically served as an appetizer or main course.
The ham is cured in salt and spices for several months, then thinly sliced and served with bread, fruit, or vegetables.
Prosciutto has a salty, slightly sweet flavor and a smooth texture.
It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes, from simple appetizers to complex pasta dishes.
Whether you’re looking for an impressive starter for your next dinner party or a tasty way to add some flavor to your weeknight meal, prosciutto is a delicious option.
If you’re interested in trying prosciutto, you can find it at most specialty food stores and supermarkets.
Once you’ve tried this delicious Italian delicacy, you’ll be hooked.
Just make sure to look for high-quality brands that have been appropriately cured and packaged.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Prosciutto
For those who love the taste of prosciutto but can’t or don’t want to eat pork, several substitutes can be used in its place.
Here are five of the best substitutes for prosciutto:
1 – Jamón Serrano
Spain is famous for its Jamón Serrano, a type of cured ham often served as a traditional holiday dish.
The ham is made from the hind leg, which is first rubbed with salt and then left to cure for several months.
After curing, the ham is hung to dry for several more months.
This lengthy process results in very salty ham and somewhat dry.
While some people may find the flavor of Jamón Serrano to be too strong, others enjoy its unique taste.
In addition to being served as a holiday dish, Jamón Serrano is also often used in tapas and other Spanish dishes.
2 – Culatello
Culatello is a gourmet delicacy that food lovers have revered for centuries.
This unique cured meat is prized for its rich, succulent texture and bold, savory flavor.
Made from lean pork fillets salted with spices and cheese rinds, culatello is crafted using a traditional method that dates back to the Middle Ages.
The pork is first shaped into a cylinder to create culatello, then left to dry in temperature-controlled rooms for several months.
The meat develops an intense flavor and becomes tender enough to melt in your mouth during this time.
Whether enjoyed on its own or used as an ingredient in delicious recipes, culatello is an experience not to be missed.
3 – Ham
There’s nothing quite like a good ham when it comes to delicious, mouthwatering comfort food.
Whether or not you’re a serious foodie or just looking for something tasty and satisfying, ham has a way of hitting the spot like nothing else.
What is this humble cut of meat that makes it so irresistible? For one thing, our love affair with ham likely stems from its rich, savory flavor.
This flavor comes from the meat’s fat molecules and amino acids, intensifying as it cooks.
In addition, the sweetness of ham is due to its sugar content and can be further enhanced by adding a glaze or marinade before cooking.
Finally, the saltiness of ham is closely linked to its sodium content, which makes it even more addictive than other savory foods.
4 – Bacon
At first glance, bacon may not seem like an exciting food.
After all, it’s just a slab of cured pork.
But if you look a little closer, you’ll see that bacon is one of the most unique and delicious foods.
It has a rich and smoky flavor unmatched by any other meat, but it also has a unique crispy texture that makes it the perfect addition to any breakfast plate or sandwich.
The countless ways to prepare and enjoy bacon mean no limit to its culinary potential.
Whether you like your bacon fried, baked, candied, or crumbled over a salad, one thing is clear: bacon is genuinely a food without equal.
5 – Pancetta
Pancetta is an Italian cured meat made from pork belly.
It is typically salt-cured and spiced with black pepper, giving it a unique salty and slightly spicy flavor.
Pancetta can be used in various dishes, from pasta to soups.
It is also a popular pizza topping.
While the pancetta is traditionally made from pork belly, it can also be made from other cuts of pork, such as the loin or shoulder.
However, the flavor and texture of pancetta will vary depending on the cut of meat used.
The loin tends to be leaner and firmer than the pork belly.
Pancetta can be purchased pre-sliced or in a whole piece.
If buying an entire piece, it is best to slice it thinly so that it can be easily incorporated into dishes.
The pancetta should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for up to 6 months.
If you love prosciutto but are on a diet, you may have to search for some alternatives.
While bacon is a good substitute for many people, prosciutto has its distinct flavor and texture, making it hard to replicate.
Thankfully, a few substitutes can give you the taste of prosciutto without the guilt.