Ham is one of those ingredients that should never be missing on a special occasion, whether it's an anniversary, a family celebration, or any other type of gathering.
Properly presenting this ingredient is as important as choosing it correctly, so if you're wondering how to present a good plate of ham, at Enrique Tomás, we're going to tell you everything you need to know to make it exquisite, from how it should be sliced to what temperature it needs.
Tips for presenting a good plate of ham
To explain how a ham should be presented, we will consider three aspects for the presentation of ham dishes:
Appearance of the ham
Master ham experts often serve their star product on white plates so that there are no visual elements, such as the pattern of the dish, that take away from its prominence. Additionally, the cured ham, whether it's Gran Reserva, Iberian ham, or 100% acorn-fed Iberian -popularly known as "pata negra" - should be arranged on the plate in a circular manner, from the outside in.
Slicing the ham
The first thing to consider is the thickness and length of the slices. Even if you buy the best ham in the world, if you don't slice it properly, you won't fully enjoy its flavor. Tradition leads us to associate the idea of eating ham with the image of a leg or a shoulder, but it's important to know how to cut them properly to avoid spoiling them. Learning to carve ham is possible through carving courses, but if you don't have time, you can buy pre-sliced ham.
In this regard, it's worth noting that at Enrique Tomás, we offer both whole legs and pre-sliced ham, and if you prefer, you can choose the leg and have it prepared in portions. The advantages are several: first, you ensure that the ham doesn't dry out as it is vacuum-sealed, which preserves it better, and second, you know that each portion of ham will have the exact thickness.
Our master ham experts have over thirty years of experience, and whether it's hand-carved or machine-sliced, they will provide just the right thickness for each slice.
Regarding the fat, some people may not like the fat, but it plays a significant role in preserving the ham. In addition to slowing down the drying process and oxidation of the meat, the fat protects this food and prevents it from being exposed to temperature or humidity. So, it's better to serve both the meat and the fat, and let each person decide whether to remove it later.
Temperature of the ham
The third aspect to consider is the temperature, both of the plate and the ham itself. It's important for the cured ham to have the right temperature; for example, if you have the leg in the kitchen, the ideal environment should be dry and between 23°C and 25°C.
In the case of pre-sliced ham, you don't need to store it in the refrigerator; keeping it in the pantry, as long as it's dry, is sufficient. Furthermore, the pre-sliced ham doesn't need to be opened and eaten immediately; you should wait a couple of minutes. You'll know the slices are just right when they naturally separate from each other.
Regarding the plate temperature, some believe it's better to put it in the refrigerator, let it cool, and then place the ham on top, but this process is counterproductive. Only a plate at room temperature will help the slices separate more easily.
At this point, we know all the details to consider when presenting a good plate of ham, but does it serve alone? Of course not.
What to serve with a good plate of ham
You have two options: bread and "picos sevillanos" (Sevillian breadsticks). If you decide to accompany your ham with bread, don't forget to drizzle it with a bit of grated tomato or olive oil. Buy fresh bread, natural tomatoes from a nearby market, and use the best extra virgin olive oil.
The ham can only be accompanied by top-quality ingredients!
"Picos," on the other hand, have a neutral flavor and are perfect when you're going to enjoy other types of cold cuts or even cheese along with your ham. Eating one of these breadsticks will restore your palate's original sensitivity, and only then will you be able to fully appreciate the authentic flavor of the next bite. You'll notice all the nuances! What are you waiting for? Enjoy the cured ham and pay attention to every detail,
it's a true delicacy!
Translation by ChatGPT, your AI language model.