Lonzino – E’il Ottimo
Months after preparing and hanging the prosciutto, I’m more anxiously than patiently awaiting the finish date. Which, if we let the ham dry to half its original weight, will probably be another 10 months. So, in the meantime I tried making something similar but much faster.
The Lonzino is a salt cured then air dried pork loin. We started with a salt and herb rub, consisting of salt, sugar, pepper, garlic, cloves, onion, and thyme. The loin sits in the rub for 12 days before it is rinsed and then hung to dry. The drying process takes at least 12 days according the recipe, but one of my loins was especially thin and seems to be done after just 10 days. The water activity in the smaller loin is down to just 0.79 as compared to 0.89 in the thicker loin. After more than 4 months of air drying, the prosciutto is still reading 0.83aw – of course it was 19 lbs at the start as compared to the the two pieces of loin which together started at less than 3 lbs.
Here’s a picture of the finished project.
The color is deep red – beautiful really. The loin feels dense and firm, dry on the outer skin, but not too dry throughout. The flavors are full with the herbs and seasonings–especially the cloves–readily available to the taster and not hidden by the abundance of salt. It is aromatic, pleasing to the eye, and very tasty. With such an easy preparation and short drying time, this cured meat is well worth the minimal effort.