Ask Jane: What A Ham
Our food editor solves another culinary quandary.
I hear Formaggio Kitchen is selling Spanish lomo for $99.95 a pound. Is any ham worth that much money?
I never thought I’d say this, but yes. Lomo is cured from the loin of the Iberian pig, sometimes also referred to as pata negra. There are several types but the best is Ibérico de bellota, which until this year had been banned for import by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ibérico de bellota pigs are fed only acorns, a diet that imbues their meat with an intense nutty taste and a hint of sweetness. The ham is then cured with salt, garlic, and smoked paprika for an even richer flavor. And because the pigs get plenty of exercise, there are no visible strips of fat, as with prosciutto; instead, the fat is evenly distributed so that when you place the lomo on your tongue, it literally melts.
And you won’t need very much to feed a crowd. The lomo is shaved ultrathin, so a charcuterie plate for six—about 25 slices—will cost only about $12. With all the money you have left over, try the bellota salchichón, a spicy sausage with a hint of nutmeg and pepper. It’s a bargain at $32.95 a pound.