Serrano ham according to Alberto Chicote
Head Chef at Nodo and Pandelujo
Serrano ham is a product that I would undoubtably give a "10" to. What I mean is that you don't have to work it, change it, transform it or do anything to it for it to be absolutely fantastic from start to finish.
At most I could understand a minimal treatment or a choice combination with other products, but transforming it, whether by heating, marinating or any other technique is not appropriate as far as I am concerned.
I think that taking a good Serrano ham and changing it into something else would be taking it down from a 10 to a 9, so I definitely feel that the product should be respected as is. Look for combinations and spaces where perhaps until now it has not been used, and with that, nothing more, you can make the product more versatile.
Serrano ham forms part of a recommended diet which we often call the Mediterranean diet, although this term is not always entirely accurate.
It is an extremely healthy product with good fats which help us to stay healthy. For me, good cooking is great, but good, healthy cooking is even better.
Tonight, as we are going to dedicate a space to different products and work up a type of hodgepodge, we are going to try a few different things with Serrano ham.
Since we know there will be people from outside Spain, we'd like to give them a little taste of our local flavor, so we are going to make Serrano ham croquettes because they are a must, and everyone knows they are fantastic.
Then we are going to work a bit with the fat from Serrano ham, and let the meat be. We'll be using this wonderful fat for other things, and I think we'll be able to do a lot with it, and with the ham.
As far as price goes, cheaper is not always better. Obviously the consumer is happier to spend less. So in the end it comes down to ‘why not choose Iberian ham instead of Serrano ham?' Because in this country we have two hams with their own designation: Iberian ham and Serrano ham.
Each has its advantages, and I think that it's not just that Serrano ham is less expensive. They are different products with different flavors, different personalities, different uses and a very different work space.
So it's just foolish to pit two completely different products against each other, with the only similarity being that they both come from the leg of a pig. That's all, because the pigs aren't similar either.
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