Do you have a ham-Jamón at home and do not even know where to start eating it from? The first step is to know how to place correctly the ham in the ham holder so that slicing it (and enjoying it) be as simple as possible.
In the world of the restoration, the hams are placed in the ham holder with the hoof upwards to cut first the meat of the “maza” which is more juicy and tender. However, obviously a ham does not last as long in a restaurant as it does at home and, therefore, it does not necessarily have to be started in the same way. That is why in Enrique Tomás we clarify the procedure so that you discover the correct way to do it and thus enjoy your piece of ham to the maximum.
Place the ham in the “jamonero” (ham holder) for family consumption
The first thing you have to do is to buy a Jamón of a good quality. For this, it is best that you go to a specialized store or to a gourmet supermarket and, once you have your Gran Reserva Jamón or Jamón Iberico bellota- Ham, start it immediately so that you do not take long to enjoy the pleasure of tasting it.
As soon as you get home, remove the white cloth covering it and place it into the “jamonero” (ham holder). But how do you do it? The first thing to keep in mind is how many people you are at home. Families composed of two or three members will not eat the piece as fast as a larger family, so it is recommended to place the hoof up and start the ham by the “maza”, as it is the most juicy and tasty area, and it is better to enjoy it before it dries and then for the rest, do not wait too long, although we are sure that this won’t happen!
However, when the piece of Jamón is purchased for a special event where many people will attend or for a large group of friends and family, we recommend to place it onto the ham holder with the hoof down to start it from “the babilla”, which is the most dry-cured part of the ham and thus it should preferably be consumed earlier to ensure a more pleasant taste, as it is the drier part of the ham. The more people will eat the sooner the babilla will end and the sooner they will get to the “maza”; this area will still be tender and delicious, so that you don’t stop eating!
And remember, if you have a whole piece of good Jamón at home, do not save it just for yourself, share it with friends and family so that everyone can enjoy the pleasure of a Spanish food delicacy.
And how do you slice it?
In Enrique Tomás we have ham carving courses available in which we teach how to carve and slice the ham; for instance, you have to know that you have to start slicing, following the opposite direction to the hoof and following our principle: each slice shall have the exact thickness. When slicing it, you should get a glimpse of the shape of the knife through the slice, otherwise the slice will be too thick; while if you see the knife well through, the result will most probably be a very thin slice which will not allow you to fully appreciate the taste. The result should be a piece of ham that, when you place it on your tongue, the cured oil melts onto the palate making you enjoy all the ham nuances.
So, cutting slowly but frequently, you will end up finding the bone; to get the most out of the Jamón, you shall slice around the cured meat with the knife.You will get some savory ham shavings! As soon as you are not able to slice more, it will be time to turn over the jamón.
Just as you have previously removed the fat from the area of the “babilla ” or the “maza”, depending on how you started slicing, now you must do the same with the opposite zone. Once sliced, remove all the remaining ham and slice it in cubes or shavings and eat them with a little bread spread with olive oil. Irresistible!
Discover all the differents types and qualities of jamón with Enrique Tomás:
Other tips and recommendations
There are three aspects that must be taken into account when placing the ham in the ham holder and cut it:
- Take the knife firmly with one hand and with the other hand grip the ham by the hoof. The knives especially designed for slicing the Jamón are very sharpened and therefore, they can be very dangerous. Keep them out of the reach of children.
- Slicing the ham is a very important issue because enjoying the blessings of the dry-cured flavour, relies very much on the slicing method. As experts in this matter, we know that the slices do not have to be either very thick or very thin, but they must have the exact thickness. Never forget this suggestion, the knife should be glimpsed through the slice.
- Obviously, once you start the ham at home, you will not slice it all at once, therefore make sure to protect it from the indoor air by covering it with a lint-free cloth, as recommend by experts to prevent it from air contamination.
So now that you know how to place the ham in the ham holder, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start it and enjoy all its flavor!