Green peas blended with cilantro spread on crackers? Sounds a trifle British, what? Wrong. It’s French, arguably. Mr. Henry found it on a food blog devoted to French language as well as French cuisine called chocolate and zucchini.
To this eater it sounds enticing. Peas were baby Henry’s first green vegetable. Thanks to the miracle of flash freezing, peas remain a perennial household favorite. Mrs. Henry mixes them still frozen into her pot pie before baking. They emerge piping hot but not too soft.
Until he went searching for what to eat as an accompaniment to charcuterie the thought of making peas into a cold spread never entered the Henry imagination. After returning from the land of jamon iberico, however, he needed to host a tasting event to compare and contrast its great rival prosciutto di Parma.
Jamon iberico de bellota, cured ham made from pigs that forage principally on acorns in the western forests of Spain, is denser and chewier than Italian prosciutto. While grinding your molars on jamon iberico, moreover, your mouth is overcome by a sensation foreign to the American palate, namely, the insistent flavor and texture of lard.
There are societies in Papua New Guinea that consider raw pig fat to be the epitome of luxury, something reserved for extra special visitors. At such events each member of the village takes turns stuffing a loving handful of fresh pig fat into the honored guest’s mouth. If the honored guest happens to be a shy Princetonian anthropologist unaccustomed to meat in any form, the experience will be life transforming.
In fairness to the fatty acorn-eating pata negra pigs of Spain, it should be noted their fat is very high in oleic acid, a beneficial monosaturated omega-9 fatty acid also found in olive oil and Brazilian açai.
Whatever the merits of fatty acids, frankly the name doesn’t sound so appetizing. Mr. Henry and his tasting group all preferred prosciutto. Its sweet saltiness and melt-in-your-mouth texture simply cannot be improved upon.
Yesterday at a new Upper West Side eatery on Amsterdam at 73rd Street, Salumeria Rosa, Mr. Henry tasted their signature prosciutto, one called parmacotto which is slowly cooked for days. It was beyond great, the best prosciutto of Mr. Henry’s piggy career.