25 May 2012

Spanish Ham 'Tacos'

Spanish ham 'tacos' can be achieved from both the Iberico and Serrano ham although from the latter is much more common and readily available. Tacos from the Serrano ham can actually be cut during any stage of the carving, tacos are similar to diced ham but larger making them great to lightly sprinkle over salads, stuff mushrooms or chicken breast and to cook with. Tacos will become crisp when baked or fried and they are a firm favourite in Spain being lightly fried in olive oil before being patted dry then sprinkled over pumpkin soup.

Tacos can be served raw or cooked and add a lovely Spanish flavour to all types of chicken dishes, soups, casseroles and other Spanish meals.

Fresh Ham Tacos

Fresh tacos are easily achieved from either a full leg of Serrano ham or if you have a smaller boneless ham or ham piece. Simply carve one thick slice which should be around 3mm thick and then chop into small cubes. Fresh tacos like this are best served cold as the meat is moist and less chewy.

One handy tip for carving tacos is to slice from around the protruding hip bone which will eventually be encountered while slicing your ham – try to avoid carving a ‘curve’ into ham but if you find yourself doing so you can straighten up by carving shorter thicker pieces from near the bone.

Tacos from the Bone

Another way of achieving tacos is from those hard to reach areas of the Serrano ham such as around the hip joint. There are places in a Spanish which require the use of a small boning knife and these areas are usually left until last. Instead of wasting the last of the meat you can carve out small pieces and be surprised how much meat is still left on that leg! Ham pieces such as these  can be cut into tacos and used in cooking, if the ham is old (ie been cut into a month or so prior) then your tacos may be quite hard – these are ideal for cooking with especially in casseroles where the meat will soften in the juices or sauce.

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