This cured, air-dried Spanish ham, also known as jamón iberico or pata negra, is considered to be one of the finest in the world. It comes from the native Spanish Iberian pigs and is only produced in south and south-western Spain.
It's comparable in style to Parma ham, although the flavours of the two are distinct. Jamón iberico is classified according to how long it's aged and what the pigs are fed on, amongst other things. Some of the finest, including jamón iberico de bellota, come from pigs fed on acorns and will be aged for up to four years.
Serrano ham is best enjoyed simply carved into slices as a tapa with a little bread and perhaps a drizzle of Spanish olive oil. Chunks of jamón can be used to flavour stews or to garnish chilled soups such as gazpacho or salmorejo.
Article by Louisa Carter