"De-salt" a ham?

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"De-salt" a ham?

Postby Alan Uchrinscko » Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:16 am

How does one do this? Just boil the hell out of it in some water or what...

(used in Larousse Gastronomique recipe for Jambon Parsille)
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Re: "De-salt" a ham?

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:22 am

I use two techniques, Alan.

The most successful is to soak in cold water in the fridge for four days. I change the water every 12 hours. If you can bring yourself to doing so, cut through the ham so it is in four pieces, the re-assemble before baking and carving.

You can do the same thing a bit quicker by soaking in ginger ale -- change water every four hours or so. Check for taste after each sesssion -- for some reason, maybe because of the sugar in the ginger ale, it takes less time with ginger ale than water. Even one four hour session may do the trick.

Janet can't have much salt, and we've had good success with both techniques -- doesn't seem to hurt the taste at all, and the hams are always very juicy and delicious.

One other trick -- cut that outer fatty crust away so the pink/red meat is showing before soaking.

Other folks may have better techniques -- I've been searching for hams cured without salt but so far haven't liked the results.

Regards, Bob
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Re: "De-salt" a ham?

Postby Alan Uchrinscko » Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:45 am

Wow. Thanks a lot Bob. I for some reason had never heard of this, and you pretty much laid out the options for me.

Ever have Jambon Persille? I crave it desperately sometimes when I haven't been to France for a while - right now would be one of those times!
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Re: "De-salt" a ham?

Postby Jenise » Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:17 pm

Bob, great answer. I didn't know about the ginger ale trick. What property does the ginger have, I wonder, that another sweetened, carbonated beverage wouldn't?

Alan--there's your answer. You probably know that the de-salting stage presumes that the ham is essentially a fresh (raw) salted ham, or what they call 'country ham' in the Southern U.S. If you're using an already cooked 'city ham', there's no need to de-salt, just go straight to the wine/boullion cooking stage.

Do you have a full recipe you're comfortable with (Larousse can be vague)? I've used Julia Child's recipe in the past with much success, and would be happy to post that for you.
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Re: "De-salt" a ham?

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:32 pm

I don't know why ginger ale works -- I've often thought the ginger and the sweetness enhances the ham so even if some of the salt remains, you don't taste it. I learned the ginger ale trick from Carson Gully, a chef from Arkansas, who I worked for when I was in law school.

I would love to see your recipe, Jenise -- please post it. Thanks.
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Re: "De-salt" a ham?

Postby Alan Uchrinscko » Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:40 pm

I agree with Bob, please do post yours. I'll paraphrase the Larousse and post it as well when I get to it.

I have my own recipe that cures my fix a bit, but it's far from authentic nor even resembles the original all that much so I thought I'd try for something closer to the original...
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Re: "De-salt" a ham?

Postby Jenise » Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:10 pm

Alan, done. But I posted it as a separate thread so it's a self-titled, searchable recipe. I'm sure it's much more structured than Larousse since Julia usually is (I checked my new LG to compare which didn't include the recipe, so it must be in the old book which I also have but couldn't find today). It will at least give you another viewpoint.

Btw, I recall well my first encounter with this dish; I ordered it as an appetizer in Beaune. And it sent me straight to the moon--I wanted to cancel my main dish and order a big plate of jambon persille instead. This recipe gets pretty close to what I remember but for the garlic.
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