Spanish Cooking Classes Benalmadena
Preserved & cured or smoked meats have been made the same traditional way for centuries. The Iberians and other cultures have always produced dry-cured hams. The first references date back to the Roman Empire. From the very beginning, production of this type of pork or ham has been straightforward – taking what mother nature provides in order to preserve and enrich the meat in this case pork: nothing more complex than salt, the correct environmental conditions and time.
As not only of the ham does man live, the other cured meats offered by the humble and noble pig are worth mentioning.
We must not forget the spice of the Paprika(pimentón) and the pepper; used since the Middle Ages to preserve the meats throughout the long year and to ensure their curing – this enabled them for to be safe for eating. The curing process is different for each type of meat, but it involves washing and salting the piece of meat and hanging it to dry. This process will take at least several months and can even take a couple of years of curing, for them to be at its best eating point.
Jamón Serrano is produced and served in every Spanish province, some regions may have a longer tradition in producing the ham more than others, but the production of Serrano ham is not limited to a certain geographic area. The ham was cured in mountainous areas with moderate climates, warm and dry in the summer and cold in the winter. Mountain, or “sierra” in Spanish gives the ham its name, Jamón Serrano. The mountain air favoured the slow curing and the ageing of the meat. This was aided by a preliminary application of sea salt. This ritual has always been started during the first weeks of November, at the start of the winter. For centuries families sacrificed and cut the pigs meat for later use (every part of the pig is used). These were bred and fattened domestically. This ritual is called the “matanza”; an occasion for a celebration in which all family members participate. The pig’s meat was initially covered in sea salt to begin the curing process. The majority of Serrano hams is made from the breed of white pig and is not to be confused with the much more expensive jamón Ibérico. After several days, the hams were washed and then hung in curing sheds with sufficient ventilation. Other gems include the chorizo or morcón. Chorizo is defined as a short piece of meat from the belly, regular pork, chopped and seasoned, and cured in a smoker. It’s the essential snack food. Chorizo and blood sausage differ only in the thickness of the casing and the spices used; the latter being the thickest.
Salami or Salchichón
The main difference between the chorizo and the salami is found that this meat is ground finer than sausage, into a paste, and the condiments change, the paprika is substituted by the pepper, and it is dried in the open-air sheds like the Serrano ham.
It is unique to the Spanish culture, unlike cured ham that can be found in any culture that has pigs. Every culture has a recipe for cured hams.
Iberian pork, is seasoned with salt and pepper spiced with other spices and-stuffed into an animal gut /Intestine. It is made with the complete loin, which has been marinated in a mixture of salt, garlic and paprika. After that, it is cured in a natural drying shed for at least 5 to 6 months.
In little quaint villages you will still find El Día de la Matanza. (Where the saying of ” A cada cerdo le toca su san Martin” which means in the time, for the wrong doings of he or she has acts committed. In other words Karma is always going to get you.
San Martin is a holiday celebrated on November 11 in honour of Martin of Tours.
Come join us for Spanish cooking lessons in Benalmadena.