What Is It?
Prosciutto is ham that has not been smoked but seasoned, salted, and air-dried -- a curing process that takes anywhere from nine months to two years. It does not require cooking. Most prosciutto comes from Italy (it means "ham" in Italian) and is labeled according to its place of origin (such as Parma).
How Does It Taste?
Prosciutto has a sweet, salty taste and a pleasant aroma. Its texture is dense and silky, the result of being pressed during curing. Because it is so flavorful, a little goes a long way. It's often used in sandwiches, pasta dishes, and salads.
How To Buy It
You can find prosciutto sliced to order at the deli counter, gourmet shops, or Italian markets, or pre-packaged in many supermarkets. It is usually sold very thinly sliced.