Ina Garten's Microwave Hack Will Solve Your Sticky Prosciutto Problems

Prosciutto sticking to its packaging paper is a real problem. If you've ever tried to peel those thinly sliced pieces of delicate meat away from the butcher or waxed paper used to separate it from other slices only to have them tear into pieces, you know this task is not for the faint of heart. That's why whenever Ina Garten is working with this Italian meat that is a staple on charcuterie boards and wrapped around melon, she turns to the microwave to help solve prosciutto's sticky situation.

In her "Cook Like a Pro" cookbook, the Barefoot Contessa said that when this meat makes her fingers feel like two-sided tape, she places it in the microwave for just a few seconds to loosen it up. This allows her to peel her prosciutto without tearing it to shreds in the process. That said, take care it is only three to five seconds and not 10 or 20 because this meat cooks up quickly in the microwave. If you hear some popping and crackling, you've placed too many seconds on the clock and may have to rethink how you are serving it.

Use Ina Garten's hack on other meats

Why does thinly sliced meat stick to the paper in the first place? The fat congeals ever so slightly onto those sheets, creating this minor nuisance. The paper is still doing its job. It's much better to have it stick to the paper than to other slices of meat only to wind up with a messy meatball. That alternative doesn't serve your meat and cheese plates or your fancy meals well. 

But why slice your Prosciutto so wafer-thin? It is one of the best ways to enjoy its tender, but buttery and savory elements. If you slice it too thick, you might as well fry it up like bacon. The optimal thickness for this meat, at least if you are serving it cold, is just one-sixteenth of an inch, which should make you appreciate that paper used to separate slices a little more. 

What you will come to love about Garten's microwave hack is that you can use it on any meat that makes you want to break out into the chorus of Lionel Richie's hit song, "Stuck on You." Try it on your capicola, speck, or ultra-thin slices of ham.