Serrano ham or Jamon is a famous Spanish delicacy. It is dry-cured pork’s back leg that is salted, and cut in thin slices like prosciutto.
Jamon comes from a type of rare pig called a white pig, and therefore the price much higher than normal ham or prosciutto.
If you can’t find this product on the shelves of your local supermarket, there are two alternatives that you can reach for instead.
- Westphalian Ham
- Ardennes Ham
- Smithfield Ham
Find out more about this Spanish dry-cured ham and its substitutes in the article below.
Substitutes For Serrano Ham
Prosciutto is an air-cured ham that just like serrano ham is cut in thin slices and consumed raw. It is made from pork legs that are covered in salt and left for a couple of weeks to soak up the flavor.
Then the meat is washed and left to dry age for almost a year. I’m sure that you’ve tasted this salty delicacy at least once before so I’ll be brief.
Prosciutto has a salty, nutty, and sweet flavor that goes amazing with everything.
Types Of Prosciutto
- Prosciutto Cotto- Or cooked ham, is lighter in color than regular prosciutto, and it’s prepared at a controlled temperature until perfectly cooked and pink. This is not what you call a ”regular prosciutto”, this ham has a significantly lighter and meatier taste. Sometimes the meat is coated with different types of herbs and spices before baking.
- Prosciutto Crudo- This is the type of Italian prosciutto that we want on our charcuterie boards, paired with some bread and wine. Prosciutto Crudo is made from the hind leg of the pigs which is salted, air-dried, and left the aging process to do its job. This dry-cured ham goes well with everything! cheese, crackers, pizza, flatbreads, mushrooms, asparagus, etc… The taste of prosciutto pairs well with some white wine or any alcohol with an intense flavor.
Speck is an Italian cured and smoked ham. Although it is very close in taste to its cousin’s serrano ham and prosciutto, speck has its own smokey flavor and a sturdier texture.
The meat can be paired with ingredients like salt, pepper, herb, maple syrup, or virgin olive oil to enhance its smokiness. Speck is also a great substitute for prosciutto.
What Can You Use Speck For
You don’t need much of a recipe if you’re preparing something with speck. Just put this delicious paper-thin meat next to some cheese, breadsticks, and some dried fruits and you have a nice snack plate for you or your friends. The flavor of speck is a bit more intense than the serrano ham and has that smoky signature flavor.
If you’re feeling lazy to do all this cutting and putting on a board or a plate, put it on a thinly sliced bread with tomato and a bit of olive oil.
Since this is a pork product, and pork meat tends to get a little heavy on the stomach, I feel like I should advise consuming lightly and in pairing with some bread.
What Is Serrano Ham
Serrano ham or Jamón comes from the hind legs of a rare breed of pigs called white pigs. The process of making this ham is by dry-curing the pork leg.
After the slaughter, the leg is being cured in a big bucket of salt for about 3/4 weeks, to make the meat as dehydrated as possible. The meat is then washed off from all the salt and hung on a rope to air dry for 11 months.
This is the meat you have to try if you’re in Spain, no matter what. And it’s sure easy to find it everywhere you go Spain, bars, restaurants, you name it. They are truly proud to have invented such a delicacy that changed the antipasto game forever, as it should be.
Trying serrano ham in a restaurant or bar, along with some other antipasto ingredients should be at a mediocre cost, but it sure is expensive when you’re buying it at a grocery store and you’re making sure that they give you the real deal.
Types Of Serrano Ham
The most popular types of serrano ham, jamón serrano(mountain ham), or jamón iberico(Iberian ham).The difference in taste is basically non-existent, the only difference is at what place, or mountain the pig was raised. Both of these types have that smooth ham flavor.
What Can Serrano Ham Be Used For
- Serrano Ham Crostini- Make homemade crunchy crostini from baguette bread, put some delicious parmesan or romano cheese, and a thin slice of salty serrano ham.
- Serrano Pizza- Once you try this there is no way that you would put any other topping on your pizza other than this ham and maybe some arugula. Whether you are making your own dough or not, this pizza will have an ”expensive taste”.
- Antipasto board- Great idea when you have some guests over for some wine. Antipasto is an Italian meal that includes different types of cured meats, pieces of bread, olives, mushrooms, a variety of cheese, and lots of other foods that pair well with wine and cheese. You can easily make this board on your own. It doesn’t take much time to prepare, all it takes is a creative mind and some of the ingredients I named above.
- Creamy Bechamel Sauce- Try something interesting and for your next pasta recipe try adding some fried and crunchy serrano ham to your bechamel sauce instead of salt. To enhance the nutty taste that this ham has, top your sauce with just a little bit of nutmeg and pepper. You can try this in many other types of sauce like garlic sauce, tomato sauce, cheese sauce, etc…
- Delicious Croquetas De Jamon- This dish is also a Spanish tapa delicacy that is served in every bar or restaurant in Spain. Croquetas are breaded bechamel sauce fritters with a stringy texture that can be filled with cheese, jalapeno, serrano ham, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. A popular variety of these delicious bechamel sauce fritters is the croquetas made with mashed potatoes instead. With only a handful of ingredients, you can make this a part of a delicious dinner or eat it by itself.
Other Lesser Known Substitutes For Serrano Ham
This ham is prepared from the hind legs of einkorn-fed pigs and is typically made in the Westphalia forest in Germany.
Westphalian ham shares a close resemblance to prosciutto because it’s thinly sliced and cured for a couple of months. The only difference is that this ham is smoked.
Is a salt-cured, air-dried ham that comes from Belgium.
This ham is smoked, and air-cured along with some tasty spices to make the product even more delicious.
Is a dry-cured ham that originates from a town in Virginia, called Smithfield.
This product can be consumed raw if cut in thin slices, but I suggest to not risk it and simply just pan-fry it at least for two minutes.
Is Serrano Ham Similar To Prosciutto
Yes, serrano ham and prosciutto are very similar to each other in taste and in texture. The only difference is that Serrano ham comes from a specific breed of pig called a white pig.
Is Serrano Ham Saltier Than Prosciutto
Serrano ham can sometimes be a little bit saltier than the prosciutto but the difference is not that drastic. Serrano ham has a darker color and a more nutty taste than the prosciutto.
Where Is Serrano Ham Made
Serrano ham is made in Spain. It is considered the most popular meat and a delicacy in every region of Spain. This ham is served in every Spanish bar as a tapas meal, along with some other cured meats, and cheese.
What Is The Difference Between Serrano and Iberico Ham
There isn’t much of a difference really. Iberico ham is a little bit juicier than the serrano ham, but the main difference is the regions they’re coming from.
Is Serrano Ham Raw
Yes, Serrano ham is air-cured meat that needs no cooking and it is safe to consume it raw. The curing process and drying process of the meat kills bacteria, making it safe for raw consummation.
What Type Of Meat Is Serrano Ham
Serrano ham is made from the hind legs of a so-called white pig. The meat is cured, dried, and prepared for safe raw consummation.