How to Separate Prosciutto Slices
Separating thinly sliced prosciutto pieces is a real challenge. No matter whether you bought the pre-sliced variety or cut a whole leg yourself, prosciutto tends to either tear apart or stick together.
No one likes seeing their prosciutto slices turn into one messy lump. So, if you’re wondering how to separate prosciutto slices correctly, I’m here to share how.
Prosciutto slices bought in-store are typically separated by wax paper. You can also do this with prosciutto prepared at home. If there’s no wax paper, you can use a spatula or butter knife instead. Finally, you can learn how to roll the slices off each other to prevent them from tearing.
This guide will explain how to peel apart prosciutto slices to avoid them tearing and sticking together. Additionally, I’ll share some expert tips on separating prosciutto pieces. Read on to find out how to make your prosciutto ready to eat in minutes without putting too much effort into it.
Techniques for Peeling Apart Prosciutto Slices
Peel the Paper Instead
The methods of peeling apart prosciutto slices are numerous. At the deli counter, pre-sliced prosciutto, either cured or cooked, is often packed with easy peeling in mind.
Slices are usually separated with thin wax paper. Instead of peeling the prosciutto from paper, try to flip it and peel the paper from the meat.
Make sure that the prosciutto has some grip on the surface, for instance, a cutting board. This way, it sticks to the surface more than to the paper. Plus, the prosciutto is heavier than the paper, and its weight pulls it down.
So, rather than pulling up a prosciutto slice, you simply have to raise the edge of the paper a bit, and it should come off instantly.
Freeze the Prosciutto First
If your prosciutto slices aren’t separated by wax paper, place them in a freezer for a few minutes. This stiffens the meat a bit, and it becomes less sticky and harder to tear apart.
However, don’t keep the meat in the freezer for too long as it may affect the flavor and taste.
Microwave the Prosciutto First
On the other hand, instead of freezing the meat, you can microwave it for up to 10 seconds. A touch of heat can melt the fat a bit to make the slices a bit greasier. This makes it easier to peel the slices apart.
Try a Professional Technique
Here’s another way to easily peel apart prosciutto slices as recommended by Columbus Craft Meats.
First, if you have a big stack of meat, separate it in half. Then, start separating one of the halves from the middle. As meat in the middle is moister, it peels off easier than slices that have been in contact with air.
Use a Butter Knife or Spatula
A regular spatula or butter knife is of great help when you’re trying to peel apart prosciutto slices, too.
Pick up an edge of the meat or wax paper with a spatula and move it forward. Once the whole slice is on the knife, raise it.
Another way is to pick up an edge of the prosciutto slice and gently roll it off the bottom slice with fingers.
Look Before You Peel
Finally, when shopping for sliced prosciutto, pay attention to how the slices are positioned in the package. Pieces that barely touch each other are easier to separate, even without wax paper.
The same advice applies when you’re slicing a prosciutto leg yourself. Separate the slices before wrapping them, as the longer prosciutto pieces stay in contact with air, the harder they are to peel apart.
Tips for Separating Prosciutto Slices
In this section, let’s go over the top tips for separating prosciutto slices with ease.
Try not to serve sliced prosciutto in advance. The longer slices are in contact with air, the warmer they become and the more they stick together. Serve prosciutto right out of the fridge and slightly chilled. Click here to learn more about how long prosciutto can be at room temperature.
Position prosciutto slices not right on each other but to the side. Only a small part of the pieces should overlap. It’s generally easier to separate prosciutto slices from a plate than from each other. You may also place some fresh herbs between the slices if you haven’t got much space on the serving plate.
Roll slices instead of pulling them up. Be gentle and quick. Make sure that your hands aren’t too warm, or else they may stick.
Serve your prosciutto on a wooden board rather than on a plastic surface. The slices stick less to rougher surfaces. Furthermore, wood soaks in extra moisture.
If the environment is too warm and humid and your hands inevitably get sticky, use a spatula or butter knife to pick up slices instead. Don’t use a regular knife as it may tear the pieces.
How Do You Keep Prosciutto From Sticking Together?
Now you know how to separate prosciutto slices that are stuck together. But how do you prevent it from happening in the first place? The key to easy slice separation is correct preparation, wrapping, and storing conditions.
First, the packaging. If you’re prepping prosciutto at home, place a piece of wax paper between slices.
Another way is to position the slices as far as possible from each other so that they barely overlap. This can be achieved by taking a large tray or a serving plate. Next, wrap the meat tightly to prevent air from getting inside, as fresh and slightly moist prosciutto separates better than dry.
The way you cut prosciutto also makes a difference. Properly sliced pieces are shiny and have a silky texture. Thus, they should glide easily during rolling.
Many cooks prefer to put fresh herbs or seasoning between prosciutto sliced to prevent them from sticking together. This also enhances the flavor of the meat.
Be aware of using salty seasoning mixes, as prosciutto is already salted. The best choice is traditional Italian herbs such as oregano and basil or regular ground pepper.
Finally, avoid cutting too much prosciutto in advance. Instead, cut slices one at a time and immediately put them on a sandwich or serving plate.
This way, the meat remains fresh for longer, and the pieces don’t stick together.
As for the storage, the rule of thumb is – the fresher is prosciutto, the easier it is to separate.
Old prosciutto becomes slimy and sticky. Warm prosciutto is also harder to separate, so store it in the fridge. Although the freezer trick can be a quick solution, don’t store the meat in the freezer. This will only lead to the prosciutto losing flavor and becoming a single ice globe.
Now that you know how to separate prosciutto slices properly, you can enjoy this savory Italian dish without hassle.
Of course, not every method may work for you personally, so I advise trying different tips to find the best one.
And, of course, make sure to follow our advice when prepping and slicing prosciutto yourself to ensure easy peeling.