What it is: The American answer to European serrano and prosciutto ham
Bonnie: Think of Surry Farms Surryano sliced dry-cured hams as the American versions of the European prosciutto and serrano ones — produced from Six-Spotted Berkshire hogs that are pasture-raised and free of antibiotics or added hormones. That, and the fact that Surryano ham has a rich, smoky flavor that’s neither dry nor too salty. READ: Absolutely delicious.
Use these pre-packaged paper-thin slices as you would prosciutto or serrano hams, such as:
Wrap part of a slice around
• grilled or roasted asparagus spears
• marinated scallops or shrimp, skewer and grill
• fresh juicy melon slices
• the top of a crisp breadstick
• atop a pizza with tomato slices, artichoke hearts and mozzarella
• in a panini with provolone, tomato slices and fresh basil leaves
• in a sandwich on a crusty bread with brie and a fig jam
• chopped, in a simple pasta sauce of cream and grated parmesan cheese
• in chicken or veal saltimbocca (rolled with Surryano and sage, and cooked in butter)
• season a cod fillet with grated Parmesan cheese, wrap in a Surryano slice then bake
• stuff a teaspoon of regular or peppered chèvre into a date, wrap with a strip of Surryano and broil until cheese bubbles
• stuff inside a chicken breast along with a favorite soft cheese and basil; sauté or grill
• toss with tortellini, peas and grated Parmesan cheese
Bryan: Surry Farms Surryano ham, a sublimely clever play on words for “Surry” and “serrano,” is a culinary European classic. Surry Farms introduced Surryano ham a few years back. The product is a domestically produced version of Spain’s jamón serrano, literally “mountain ham.” Serrano refers to a dry-cured ham product, generally served in very thin, raw slices and often accompanying small tapas plates of fruit or cheese. Though there are many forms of dry-cured hams across Southern Europe (Italian prosciutto crudo, Portuguese presunto, etc), the food form has, until recently, been lost in translation for American producers.
Surryano ham is produced from smokehouses right here in the United States, in Surry, Va., to be exact. An all-natural production process is key to recreating the European flavors of the Iberian ham. Surryano ham is made from only purebred Berkshire hogs, a boutique breed that is pasture-raised to produce the intricately marbled meat in this intensely flavorful pork.
Though S. Wallace Edwards & Sons’ Surry Farms specializes in traditional Virginia country ham, the company developed a real appreciation for European dry-cured ham flavors. Surryano hams are hand-rubbed with dry cure, hickory-smoked for seven days and then hung in aging rooms for about 18 months. Surryano hams are one of the first legitimate American attempts to create a product similar to that of the European prosciutto or serrano ham.
Surryano hams are actually introduced in vintages; the 2008 line featured a richer ham, created by feeding the hogs peanuts each day (many Spanish hogs are raised on a diet of acorns), in addition to their normal pasture feed. The resulting meat has a much richer marbling with a strong concentrated flavor.
Surry Farms Surryano sliced dry-cured ham is not yet the qualified equal of its role model, the Iberian ham, but it is a delicious and dutiful student that continues to mold itself into something better and better. The Surryano hams are sweet yet smoky, paper-thin slices of goodness, richly textured and flavorful while not being too salty. The ham has a far too concentrated flavor for sandwiches, but is amazingly attractive alongside fresh or dried fruits and cheeses, especially cantaloupe, honeydew and olives! Style your very own tapas by topping bread with combinations of olive oil, cheese, roasted vegetables and Surryano. Pork lovers will certainly find Surryano sliced dry-cured ham to be a memorable experience.
Eric: In 2002, I visited the Vatican. Words cannot describe the beauty of the architecture and the insignificant feeling that comes over you when you walk into the main hall. I vividly remember a statement my brother made upon first entering the main hall. He had eloquently (in his standard sarcasm) stated that “This is where “God” eats breakfast.” If that were the case, I imagine the Surry Farms Surryano ham would be on the breakfast plate. The process for creating it might be borrowed from our European ancestors, but the taste is a vivid reminder of what flavor is truly about.
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