In "Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter", bestselling authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough take readers through the wide world of this versatile culinary staple. This globetrotting guide provides recipes, cultural history, anecdotes and info for ham in all its permutations - from Easter lunch to Iberian jamon to classic Southern-style preparations. The book covers ham in its four main categories: fresh, European dry-cured, American dry-cured and wet-cured. The authors share 100 recipes, including ones for Filipino twice-cooked pork, grilled and herbed butterflied ham and even a perfectly spiced (politically incorrect, but delicious) Moroccan spice rub for roasted fresh ham. The book is brimming with content, but Weinstein and Scarbrough anchor everything with their accessible, conversational style and hilarious personal anecdotes (for example, what happens when you bring jambon persille - 'Ham Jell-O' - to a swanky party? Or, how do two transplants from the big city to the countryside go about making their own prosciutto? The answer is not for the squeamish).
The book is enlivened by discussions of the science of ham or, more importantly, the science of curing: the importance of the magnesium switch-out in cellular structure, the role of salt, lactic acids in cured meat, the debate about nitrates/nitrites. With 25 stunning photos by Marcus Nilsson, the book will be both juicy bedtime reading and a bespattered kitchen standby. The recipes are varied in both ethnicity and scope. Together they've written a very funny and delicious collection of recipes and stories celebrating their obsession. Panfried Ham from Peru, Lechon Asada from Cuba, braised Ham Cacciatore, Ham Tagine and Red-Cooked Ham and Chestnuts are just a few of the international dishes they feature. Country hams from the South feature largely in the book, as well as cured hams from Spain and Italy. Sidebars and written snapshots of producers and farmers flesh out this cookbook that is part travelogue and part cultural history, a fusion of art and workaday know-how, as well as a wry, entertaining, and enlightening look at one of the world's culinary obsessions.
Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are the authors of the bestselling Ultimate cookbook series, fronted by The Ultimate Ice Cream Book. They have two titles out this year: Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It and Cooking Know-How. They are contributing editors, columnists, or features writers in national publications, including Eating Well, Cooking Light, and the Washington Post. They live in Colebrook, Connecticut.