Recipe: A tale of two tapas – two ways with jamón

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Pata negra ham tapas

 

Iberico ham, pata negra, bellota ham, jamón iberico…Spanish ham takes a huge number of different names, but what do they actually mean?!

In England, jamón tends to refer to two types of dry-cured Spanish ham: Iberico, and Serrano. Iberico is named after the Iberian pig from which it’s produced, while Serrano refers to a particular way in which the pig is butchered – it’s PDO protected too. Pata negra literally means “black hoof” or “black leg”, and refers to the colour of the hooves of the pigs – but since 2014, it’s been used only to describe the very highest quality meat. And bellota? Well, that’s the ham that comes from pigs that are reared free-range in oak forests, and eat only acorns.

You’ll find a small selection of Spanish hams in most supermarkets now, as well as in specialist delis and food shops – but by far the most extensive range I’ve seen is on https://www.ibergour.co.uk. They’ve been selling a vast selection of Spanish hams online since 2006, with all of the meat coming directly from Spain and available as whole hams (boned or bone-in), or sliced.

This week, I’ve been lucky enough to receive some of their Cinco Jotas Iberian ham, which is 100% acorn fed before being cut, trimmed of outer fat, salted, rinsed, balanced, dried and cellar-aged.

It’s truly beautiful stuff, with a rich and heady smell, a truly melt in the mouth texture and a nutty, lingering flavour. I could quite happily have eaten the whole packet on its own, but instead, I decided to make two different types of tapas.

With a small stick of crusty white bread that needed using up, it was montaditos that I went for: small, open sandwich-style snacks featuring bread with a range of toppings. They’re great as a snack for dinner parties, as nibbles for drinks gatherings or as part of a tapas meal – here are two different jamón-based options for you to try:

 

Jamon tapas with tomatoes

 

Jamón and tomato montaditos

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: jamon, tapas
Servings: 4 pieces

Ingredients

  • 4 slices crusty white bread, around 1cm thick
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • salt
  • 1-2 slices jamón

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200C.
  • Brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil, and place on a baking tray. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until golden.
  • Meanwhile, grate the tomatoes, discarding the skin. Scoop the pulp into a bowl and discard the excess liquid. Season with salt, to taste.
  • Once the bread is cooked, rub the top of each slice with the cut clove of garlic.
  • Top with the tomatoes, then a suitably sized piece of jamón, then serve.

Jamón and padron pepper montaditos

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: jamon, tapas
Servings: 4 pieces

Ingredients

  • 4 slices crusty white bread, around 1cm thick
  • olive oil
  • 4 padron peppers
  • salt
  • 1-2 slices jamón

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200C.
  • Brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil, and place on a baking tray. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until golden.
  • Meanwhile, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Once hot, add the whole padron peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly, until the skin is blistered. Remove onto a plate lined with kitchen paper, blot dry and sprinkle with salt.
  • Once the bread is cooked, top each with a suitably sized piece of jamón, followed by a whole padron pepper. Serve.

 

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