Herb and Kathy Eckhouses' Iowa cured hams, made under the name La Quercia, have a bit more in common with Italian prosciutto than they do with Southern American smoked country ham (like Sam Edwards' Berkshire Ham). The cure is just salt—no smoke, no other spices added.
However, most Italian prosciutto makers use standard-breed white pigs that live outdoors and are given conventional feed. La Quercia's hams come from heirloom breeds that have an indoor and outdoor life. In this particular case, the hogs are Berkshires crossed with Landrace, pasture fed exclusively on grass and organic feed from Jude Becker's famed Iowa farm. Herb feels the breed and lifestyle impart a greater effect on flavor than where the ham is made or how long it's aged. After tasting a lot of La Quercia's ham, it's hard not to agree.
In addition, these are whole hams with their bone in tact. They're meant for slicing at home. You won't get slices as thin as the proscuitto you're used to, but the flavor will be even better. This is cured ham of the highest caliber, a match for Europe's best.
It makes a stellar addition to an hors d'ouerve plate, an enlightened late-night snack and, for the pork-a-phile you know, a great gift.
"The best prosciutto, imported or domestic, you can get in America."
Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue
To slice, use a sharp knife and work the ham lengthwise. Don’t worry about getting big slices—focus on keeping the pieces thin, and make sure your bite has a little bit of meat and fat.
Shipped without ice. It's been cured for nine to twelve months at ambient temperatures through so it's built to last. Lasts for months when stored in a cool spot. Storage instructions included.