I decided to continue the blogs about ham that I started some time ago. As some of you may know, I lived in Spain for almost 20 years but I never really appreciated the food and specially the Jamones (Jamon Serrano, Jabugo, Iberico etc...) til I moved back to the Philippines 8 years ago...I guess when you have the things you like so readily available you take them for granted.
The hams come from free range Iberian pigs that roam around freely. They are fed with nothing but acorns from old oak trees (Iberico de Bellota). The legs are then "salted" and cured for up to a total of 3 years before its sold in the market. Jabugo hams are longer and slightly thinner than the regular Jamon Serrano, the hoof is black and are known to have high quantity of fat marbling which gives this the excellent taste.
Ideally the ham should be sliced by hand. They use special long round tip knives to do this while the leg is on a wooden stand called "Jamonera" . Slicing ham is considered an art in Spain and the idea is to cut it paper thin for the best taste and flavor to come out. They are rated in quality by J's.. starting from 3J all the way to 5J for the best quality ones.
I particularly enjoy Jamon Jabugo with just simple toasted bread and a good glass of Rioja wine. Another way of eating it which is typical from Catalunya (where I grew up) is with Pan con tomate (literally bread with tomato). The bread is toasted, then half a tomato is rubbed onto the bread, after which you drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt.
If you have never tried this type of Ham, I suggest you try it soon. Its available in Manila (although at a steep price) but its well worth it. Pair with a simple Rioja Reserva and maybe some mature manchego cheese...it Can't get any better than that..