14 August 2009

Serrano Ham Paleta

The Spanish Serrano ham "paleta". We often get asked what is a paleta? The paleta is the smaller front leg of the pig where as the ham or "jamon" is the larger rear leg.

Why a "paleta"? The smaller front leg is a great starting point if you have never had a full 7 - 8 kilo ham before, its also a great centre piece at smaller tapas parties perhaps catering for only 10- 12 people where a big ham may be too big.

In the flavour department the paleta does not disappoint, in fact some local Spanish residents favour a large paleta over a full jamon due to a flavour that can only be achieved from a smaller cured ham.

The paleta is still a Spanish ham albeit a small one, the main difference is that the front leg is thinner than the large fat back leg so needs less curing. Salting of the leg (1 day per kilo of initial weight) is equal to the "jamon" but obviously less so as paleta is smaller.

Flavours & Aromas: Buy a good one and you will be in Spanish tapas heaven, very easy to carve, light and accompanies olives and cheese with a gourmet combination quite unlike anything else outside Spain. Keep the good red wine handy too.

Slices: Leave to breath and almost sweat before consuming, serve at room temperature for optimum flavour and aroma, ham and cheese - perfect tapas.

If you would like to find out more about the paleta and the differences between front leg and back leg hams you can read our article "All about legs" Jamon vs Paleta

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