Specialist of the Month

Osteria La Spiga
2019 SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR
1429 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
https://www.laspiga.com/
(206) 323-8881

Q&A

How would you describe Osteria La Spiga to someone who has never heard of it?

Osteria La Spiga has been a much loved, family owned Italian restaurant in Seattle since 1998. Its menu celebrates the gastronomic delights of northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, where some of the world’s tastiest foods come from, like Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, tagliatelle alla Bolognese, Modena balsamic vinegar and more. The rustically elegant atmosphere was designed to be architecturally beautiful, warm and welcoming, with lots of wood, floor-to-ceiling windows, exquisite wrought iron details, a large bar, and a floating mezzanine for private parties.

How would you describe Prosciutto di Parma to a customer who has never had it?  

Prosciutto di Parma comes from the whole hind leg of the pig, which has been salted and air-cured in the breezy Langhirano corridor for a minimum of 12 months. Pigs are typically fattened with the whey from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese production (which contains fat, protein and milk sugars), and the result on the palate is a perfect combinationof salty-sweet pork goodness with a delightful, buttery mouth feel.

What makes Prosciutto di Parma different from other cured meats?

While other cured meats may exist because they were born out of the necessity to utilize the pork trim, Prosciutto di Parma is made from the prized whole hind leg of the pig, and the seasonings are very simple. This, along with prosciutto relatives such as culatello, culatta, fiocco, and more are held in very high esteem in Italy.

What do you like about using Prosciutto di Parma?

In addition to its being delicious, we love that it is a high yield product that can be used in several different applications. Whether on cured meats and cheese platters, an ingredient in our house-made sausage, or stuffed into one of our pastas, it gets rave reviews from our patrons. We also enjoy positively representing the region of Emilia-Romagna via one of its most renowned exports!

What is your favorite technique or dish using Prosciutto di Parma beyond just slicing?

Once we have sliced the prime cut of the leg for presentation platters, we are left with the “gambuccio,” the part close to the hoof. The flavor of this cut is a bit gamier, and it lends itself perfectly to grinding for use in other dishes, including our signature prosciutto ragu with tagliatelle, which has been a favorite dish at La Spiga.

What is the most important thing(s) to remember when working with Prosciutto di Parma?

Avoiding waste by a) repurposing trim; b) slicing prosciutto properly by rotating the prosciutto as necessary to keep an even slice; and c) storing it properly. 2. Cleaning prosciutto properly by removing all of the skin and wiping away all of the sugna (fat mixture applied during aging to protect the meat) which can have a rancid flavor.  3. Slicing prosciutto paper thin, unless of course you are cutting it by hand, in which case a thicker slice is acceptable.