So, we made some goat prosciutto. Generally, prosciutto is made from the leg of a pig, but we were looking for something that would cure in a shorter amount of time. Goat leg it was! And the plus was that by de-boning the goat leg, we were able to finish aging the meat in just a month. (Another speedy bonus was that the farmer we bought the goat leg from only had half legs available at the moment . . . It took much less time)
To make prosciutto of any kind, you would follow the same procedure as for dry curing any other whole cut of meat. With goat prosciutto, we started by de-boning and butterflying the meat (this is a good video that shows the process in case you’re unfamiliar). Then we added spices, salt, and cure #2, put it in a ziploc bag, and let it cure in the refrigerator for less than a week.
After curing in the fridge, we rinsed in water, weighed the meat, tied it up, and hung it in the Cave. Total hands-on time? Just a few minutes. Seriously? Anyone could do this. Dry curing whole muscles takes so little hands-on time, it’s wonderful. We set the humidity to 75% and the temperature to 55ᵒF. It was ready within four weeks.
What to do with goat prosciutto?
The nice thing about dry cured meats is that their flavor is intensified. 30% of the weight of the meat is lost due to drying, which leaves a more concentrated product. Plus you’ve got salt which breaks down the protein, and live enzymes which create new flavor compounds from the amino acids. Dry cured meats are meant to be sliced thin, and when they are, they practically melt in your mouth.
So what to do with an intensely flavored meat like this? Charcuterie boards are always a plus. But really? My favorite thing to do with strongly-flavored, fermented products are to put them in a salad. Strong cheeses, dry cured meats, fermented carrots, homemade vinegar–these all work really well to flavor salads. And I love salads.
Goat Prosciutto Salad:
Here’s what you need for about four servings of goat prosciutto salad:
- 1 head of lettuce or a box of mixed salad greens
- 2 oz of goat or lamb prosciutto (recipe here)
- 4 oz of chevre goat cheese
- 2 medium-sized roasted beets (or canned beets)
- homemade vinaigrette (recipe here–I added the optional thyme to make it an Italian dressing)
And in case you need salad-making directions, here’s how you put it all together:
- Slice your prosciutto as thinly as possible (a sharp knife will help). While you’re at it, cut the beets into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
- Assemble your salad and crumble the goat cheese on top.
- Add the vinaigrette just before serving, to taste.
This is a salad to be proud of, folks. Goat prosciutto is a special ingredient (heck, any ingredient that takes a month to make is going to be special). Sometimes the best way of eating a special ingredient is to keep it simple. And this salad does that. It has just a few, well-chosen flavors that meld well together. (And hint: it also pairs very well with some crusty artisan sourdough bread)
So enjoy! I’ve got some more plans for this goat prosciutto, so stay tuned for more recipes (though I’ll try to spread them out). How about you? What is your favorite way to eat goat or lamb prosciutto? What’s your favorite way to eat dry cured meats?