26 Jan2006

Jamon Serrano

by Marketman

I received a whole Jamon Serrano as a birthday aserr1present last year from some extremely generous and food-loving friends. By Christmas I had barely made a dent in the ham despite having served it as an appetizer at two holiday meals. I used to be a huge Prosciutto de Parma addict with its softer, smoother and also delicious taste, but I have graduated in some way to the more complex and flavorful Spanish hams… Jamon Serrano is just one notch below Jamon Iberico on the scale of superb Spanish hams and it is salty, flavorful, robust and memorable. Eat it plain, with some slices of good bread or with some cheese and it is a perfect appetizer…

I even purchased a new thin bladed knife specifically aserr2designed for slicing Spanish hams very thinly but that only meant we had thinner slices (superb) but were consuming just miniscule amounts with maximum flavor impact. Slicing the ham right is an art that I am still trying to master. The thin knife is used in a gentle back and forth sawing motion to slice off impossible thin slices. This is always done by hand, no machine slicing please… And best if you have the vice or ham stand that all decent Spanish households must have in their cupboards somewhere… After slicing 200 grams of the stuff (or one big platter seen here) your arm is extremely tired and you are under the impression you can eat much more Jamon Serrano due to your slicing “exercise”…

Jamon Serrano also goes great as part aserr3of a Market Manila tapas/antipasto mongrelized appetizer plate prior to a nice bowl of pasta or some other gooey, stew-y Iberian or Italian main dish. In the plate photographed here, I put some Jamon Serrano, spicy salami, mortadella, speck, artichokes, a sweet fig and some olives and served this with some crusty bread before having a big bowl of callos that some friends brought over a few days ago… It was absolutely delicious. The salty hams, the spicy salami, vinegary artichokes, sweet fig and tangy, salty olives really served to wake up one’s taste buds and get the appetite going on high gear…and I still have half a ham leg to go…



  1. Choy says:

    Jamon serrano is great and you’re lucky to have such generous friends who gifted you with one. Personally, the cost is too prohibitive for me. A few years back, Purefoods came up with their own jamon serrano and it was pretty good. I got to taste it at a Purefoods company party. I wonder if they still have it? If so, I wonder when I’ll be invited to another Purefoods party?

    Jan 26, 2006 | 10:00 am


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  3. gonzo says:

    wow sodium nitrite overload!

    any comments on the famous jamon Jabugo? had it a few times in san sebastian & other parts of spain. i reckon that would have to be the ultimate in processed pork products. A sublime ham in the crudo style with a sort of nutty sweetness and incredible unctuous texture. amazing. certainly no italian ham, parma or san daniele, comes close.

    Jan 26, 2006 | 11:32 am

  4. Marketman says:

    I think I have only had jabugo once. The friends who gave me the leg or serrano are big consumers of jabugo…hmmm…don’t know enough to put a post yet…

    Jan 26, 2006 | 11:37 am

  5. sha says:

    am eating breakfast and am already staring at hams….!!
    all these stuff available there? wow
    this reminds just tell me go shop some Iberico later

    Jan 26, 2006 | 5:20 pm

  6. maddie says:

    sinfully delicious! don’t you just love these “uric acid feasts”! i love, love, love those spanish hams, salamis, and everything you had on your appetizer plate. there’s this chorizo-type salami they have at terry’s that’s oh so sinful as well. i don’t remember the name. off topic…i loved the green olives that they served at galileo. it wasn’t too salty. salivating this very minute.

    Jan 27, 2006 | 1:20 am

  7. Mrs. Marketman says:

    I have to say the Jamon Serrano was delicious, and except for the salt overload you get after eating a lot of it, I could have had it for days! Serrano means “from the mountains” where the hams are cured/air dried in cool mountain air. Jamon Iberico is spanish ham from the Iberian black-hoofed pig. These Iberian pigs feast mainly on acorns or “bellotas” found in the southwestern part of Spain. Some say the village of Jabugo produces the best Jamon Iberico de Bellota available today. So when you say Jamon Jabugo, it is like saying Prosciutto di Parma. It connotes the area where the ham originates.

    Jan 27, 2006 | 1:38 pm

  8. fried-neurons says:

    I have yet to try jamon iberico, since importation of it is banned by the US. Tienda.com sells jamon serrano, but only as whole hams, if I’m not mistaken. Spanish ham is generally not readily available here in Northern California. So I have to “make do” with prosciutti (san daniele preferably; parma in a pinch. I feel so deprived. LOL

    Jan 27, 2006 | 11:14 pm

  9. Jay says:

    Have you seen the movie Jamon, Jamon?


    It stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardam.

    Jan 28, 2006 | 12:59 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Jay, no I haven’t seen the movie…will look for it when I get a chance…fried neurons…ever heard of smuggling??? heehee…

    Jan 28, 2006 | 5:54 am

  11. Amalfi_Boy says:


    Dean and Deluca, at least the one in St. Helena (Napa), sells jamon iberico that that they claim are imported from Spain – I didn’t ask how even as I was aware that importation was still banned, then. They’re quite good, albeit pricey.

    Also, on some occasions, Spanish Table in Berkeley (spanishtable.com) has some vacuum-packaged ones for sale.

    Jan 28, 2006 | 3:12 pm

  12. fried-neurons says:

    I was inspired to do another quick web search for jamon iberico. Dean & Deluca didn’t have it on their website, and neither did spanishtable.com.

    BUT! NEWSFLASH! Tienda.com is now taking orders! I guess a Spanish producer of jamon iberico got USDA certification of their curing facilities and their product will be allowed into the country!

    The catch? Tienda.com is only taking pre-orders for delivery in 2007. And at $69 a pound, a whole ham would cost around $800! Sure, they give you a free knife, but still… LOL. Doesn’t look like they will be selling half-pound packets anytime soon. *sigh again*

    Jan 28, 2006 | 4:31 pm

  13. amalfi_boy says:

    Jamon Iberico are not standard store items as they only come and are sold every once in a while in the stores that I mentioned. The stores are both in Northern California (as you stated you’re located in).

    Dean and Dwluca do not advertise it on their website. You HAVE to go (or call) their St. Helena store for availability.

    The same with Spanish Table at their Berkeley store.

    As I stated earlier, they are expensive. But, hedonism has it’s price

    Jan 28, 2006 | 8:03 pm

  14. Monchet Carballo says:

    Hi fellow food lover,
    I now sell jamon serrano, imported directly from Spain at the Salcedo Market (Tierra booth), and depending on availability of stock, the much heralded jamon jabugo. Doesn’t have to be expensive as these come vacuum-packed in 100 gms. packages. Also available are salchichons, chistorra de pamplona and chorizo casero (Spanish chorizo. Check us out. You may also call or text me directly at 0917-8115187.
    Happy eating!

    Jan 29, 2006 | 10:52 am

  15. Zita says:


    I love love love jamon serrano. I have an aunt whose spanish and we used to have xmas and new yrs eve at her place, she would serve these for appetiser along with a glass dom perignon. Her major doma would slice them very thinly w/out an aid of a slicer. Arrange them in a platter of olives, cheese and crakers, plus some spanish nougat. I just love the flavour of it, the saltiness. Yummy! Brings back some happy memories. Thanks.

    Jan 31, 2006 | 9:53 am

  16. Jose Maria says:

    Spanish ham is increasingly being better known outside of Spain. Beware though that there are quite a few differences between “Jamón serrano”, “Jamón ibérico”, “Jamon ibérico de bellota”, and “Jamón de Jabugo”.
    This page may help you choose the spanish ham that best meets your taste (and pocket!).

    May 10, 2007 | 6:11 pm


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