Culinary trends keep changing, techniques are being improved, technologies are modernised, yet some things are just perfect as they are: since always and forever. Istrian pršut is produced following the traditional recipes that have been transferred from generation to generation possibly since the times when recipes had been wedged on clay plates, but in spite of all the overwhelming process, our civilisation has yet to discover a mechanism for drying a pork loin more efficient than the controlled chaos of bura, Istrian northern wind that ensures its maturing through a perfect ratio of motherly tough love. However, Istrian humans do have something to do with it, too, and that special “something” makes Istrian pršut fundamentally different than all the prosciuttos.
Different than all others
Technology of prosciutto production in Mediterranean countries lies on similar grounds, differences being only in nuances such as the spices or drying techniques whether it be the cold winds or the hot fumes created by burning the high-calorie wood whose composition also has a say in the recognisability of different sorts of prosciutto. Untrained taste buds might hardly recognise the differences between a prosciutto and a prosciutto, but Istrian pršut you can tell at first sight.
A slice of real, authentic Istrian pršut is almost completely red, with hardly any white marbling. No, Istrian pigs are no gym addicts and, even though they are being fed healthily, they are definitely not on a diet. Istrian pršut is so uniformly – and irresistibly sensuously – red because only in Istria is the entire skin and underlying subcutaneous tissue of the pig leg removed prior to processing. That’s why Istrian pršut is so rich in taste and aroma, yet so delightfully light that it always sits well on your thankful stomach.
Pršut in everything, pršut for all
Personally, I love it best natural and raw, sliced by hand so thinly that you can see the contours of medieval cities atop the Istrian hills through the red filter of its slices, accompanied just by the homemade bread and some fine rosé, or Teran if I’m feeling adventurous. However, culinary use of Istrian pršut knows no bounds.
It will selflessly give body to the eggs and asparagus dishes, texture to the sauces for fuži or pljukanci, kick to truffles and other Istrian mushroom delicacies, heartiness to traditional winter plates, bringing to the Istrian cuisine all the angelic roundness of flavours and the devilish liveliness of the aroma, with health-friendly minimal amounts of fat.