The sight of Hannibal handling a very sharp knife makes me a little nervous. However, in this episode he was just using it to slice some Spanish ham – Jamon Iberico. Whew. That’s a relief.
As you can see up-close, Jamon Iberico is superfatty. It’s a delicious cured pork product that is sort of like a firmer, less sweet prosciutto. And Spanish. In case you have a gazillion dollars to drop on an entire jamon iberico (if you do, invite me over, pretty please?), here are a few tips on how to carve it, as an excerpt, with some edits from a funny article in The Guardian on How to Be a Jamon Carver.
HOW TO CARVE JAMON
1. Fix ham to the carving stand, with the hoof facing away from you.
2. Start by carving the babilla. Make a cut around the hoof near the top joint of the foreleg. Remove rind on one side. Remove excess fat and keep it for wrapping the ham when finished.
The babilla is the rump end of the ham, where the meat contains the most fat. La babilla is the part delimited between the femur bone and the coxal, and contains less meat than the part of the maza, which is the thicker, rump half of the ham, where the meat is most lean. It is recommended to start cutting ham in this part in order to preserve and to take advantage of the ham piece.
3. Use a long carving knife to make thin slices. The cut must be straight and parallel to the bone. Carve from punta to hoof. The carved area must be clear of skin and yellow layers of fat.
The punta is the hip, or the opposite part of the hoof. This part has a lot of fat and therefore is one of the more tasty parts of the ham.
4. When near the hip bone, cut around it with a preparation knife. Turn ham over to cut the maza. Keep applying the same technique, including the cut around the hip bone in the punta.
5. When there are no more big slices left, trim the fat around the hip and start slicing this part. Trim the rind around the first cut. Below, there is a darker meat, which has a rich flavour.
6. Serve as soon as possible, at room temperature. A good tip to help enjoy all the flavour from the ham is to place the slices on a warm plate.
There is really no need for a recipe here. Toast some baguette slices. Add slices of jamon. Swoon at the decadence. Repeat until all the jamon is gone. Then cry.