Can you use prosciutto instead of pancetta or bacon?

For sauces or otherwise.

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10 Comments

bugbitten January 28, 2013
Giovanni50, your original question is now three questions? Okay, I will go along. My answer to question number one is Yes, you can do anything with food since no one has the right answer. My answer to questions two and three is Make friends by giving it away to people who can use it in a timely manner. Hope this helps.
 
GIOVANNI50 January 28, 2013
The local Italian deli went out of business and sold me left over leg for 150. Typically 700. Bargain. But now I need to shave it slowly. Any recommendations ?
 
Maedl January 28, 2013
You have a leg of proscuitto? I am so jealous! My butcher shop, which slices a lot of sausage and raw cured ham, has a Berkel slicer, but they are really expensive in the US.
 
GIOVANNI50 January 28, 2013
I have a leg of Parma that i am slowly consuming. The fatty part of it I thought of using g as substitute for pancetta. Thanks for the answers. Next question. : I have a small slicer which makes it difficult to use in a leg. Any good suggestions on a slicer?
 
Maedl January 28, 2013
I agree with the two previous comments. If you have a mass-produced, domestic proscuitto, then sure, go ahead and use it. But an artisianal proscuitto has so many rich nuances and you should eat it as it is. Go with bacon, pancetta, or perhaps even fat salvaged off a good ham or some sort of other smoked pork.
 
pierino January 28, 2013
I agree with nutcakes on this. Rarely would you want to cook prosciutto (although it's not bad on pizza). Cooking it in most ways, although I don't know what you have in mind, is a waste of an expensive component. If you are going to spend the money try to buy a really good bacon, pancetta or guanciale. For mail order you might want to try the La Querica web site---superior domestic product.
 
nutcakes January 27, 2013
You won't have the fat render out like you do with pancetta and bacon, so you'll likely have to add some olive oil. To me prosciutto is too delicate and expensive to waste in place of bacon. I suppose it really depends on what you are making to see whether you will degrade or improve the dish.
 
ChefJune January 28, 2013
I also agree with nutcakes. It depends upon whether the prosciutto will stand out as an ingredient in your dish. If so, then it's worth the extra price. If you have an end piece, those are usually priced a lot lower than the choice parts and are good in soup, but I wouldn't use it otherwise. I also often sub bacon for pancetta (less expensive) often it fills the same bill for less $$.
 

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trampledbygeese January 27, 2013
I don't see why not. I often swap the three around depending on what I have in the house. They will cook differently depending on how they are sliced. Prosciutto is usually sliced thinner than bacon so it will cook much faster.

Of course there are those times when you want to be a good little cook and be true to the recipe... but I'm far too much of a deviant to cook that pure very often.
 
trampledbygeese January 28, 2013
Sorry, I forgot about the fat quantity thing. I keep a jar of rendered bacon fat in the fridge for just such occasions. Failing that, I'll use butter when the fat content needs ramping up.

For me, it depends on what I have in the house as to which cured meat I use - and what the sauce recipe is. A fettuccine sauce would taste terrible with salt pork (at least in my opinion) but would taste wonderful with any of the three meats mentioned in the op. For me Prosciutto has such a strong flavour that I often don't need as much of it as I would bacon, so price wise, it often ends up about the same.
 
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