I was sent this recently published cookbook byStewart, Tabori & Chang publishers to review and I must confess I was curious. I think I can honestly count on one hand over the past 35 years the number of fresh hams I have actually cooked from scratch in my own kitchen so I did not consider myself a ham expert in any sense of the word. Once I received the book however and realized it included two large sections on dry-cured hams which includes one of my Italian favorites prosciutto, I knew it would be a book I’d love.
This cookbook is extremely interesting to read as a basic ham reference book and is packed with more than 100 international recipes all using ham in one form or the other. The cookbook is broken into four main categories, Fresh Ham, Dry-Cured Ham In The Old World, Dry-Cured Ham In The New World, and Wet-Cured ham, and also includes a reference section that includes such necessities as a source guide, and conversion chart. Each of these main categories include a few chapters which include all the recipes. It is very obvious that Weinstein and Scarbrough are well acquainted with publishing successful cookbooks as there are helpful tips included in many recipes including “Round Out The Meal” that give helpful suggestions to turn a single recipe into a complete meal or “Tester’s Notes” which may explain an ingredient, or give helpful preparation tips.
I think out of all the chapters, my favorite has to be “The Best Cocktail Party Ever” that includes drink suggestions as well as dining suggestions for throwing a great (ad fun) European Ham Party! This is included in the Dry-Cured Ham in The Old World category which also includes such delicious recipes as Pizza Quick Bread, Serrano Wrapped Scallops, Chilled Honeydew Soup With Frizzled Ham, and Bruschetta with Dry-Cured Ham And Artichoke Pesto. I have many of the delicious recipes from this chapter bookmarked to try at home very soon!
If you enjoy ham in it’s various forms, whether it be a fresh ham, dry-cured such as prosciutto, or even a wet cured ham for Easter dinner, this is a well written and recipe packed book for everything related to ham. I gained an entirely new appreciation for ham by reading this book from cover to cover, and the mouth watering photographs will have you wanting to try many of the included recipes. Mark Scarbrough also has an amusing and engaging style of writing that will keep you well entertained and interested throughout.
If you are interested in buying Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter, you can find it at Amazon.com by clicking the book below.