What Happens When You Cook Prosciutto Like Bacon

Prosciutto and bacon are both savory, pork-based products that can be used to layer into sandwiches, serve in gorgeous salads, or simply snack on by the slice. Regardless, the two aren't always interchangeable. Based on a difference in raw materials and methods of processing, strips of bacon and slices of prosciutto each boast different ways of being prepared prior to consumption. Essentially, bacon needs to be cooked and prosciutto doesn't. The question is, what would happen if you treated prosciutto like bacon, and cooked it?

Bacon, despite any brief curing or smoking, must be cooked as it's a raw product. Prosciutto, on the other hand, undergoes an extensive curing process, which means it can be enjoyed without cooking because it's not technically raw. Even though soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto is a pleasure to eat in its intended state, that doesn't mean that cooking the cured meat is totally out of the question.

Although it might lack the same smoky quality as bacon, prosciutto still offers an intensely savory quality, just with a saltier edge, due to a loss of moisture during cooking. It's worth bearing in mind that there's a textural difference between the two. Unlike the crunchy bite of a fried and fatty bacon strip, a leaner slice of prosciutto produces a more delicate crispness when cooked. Prosciutto can even risk rubberiness or a leather-like outcome, if it isn't prepared correctly.

How to cook prosciutto like a pro

Cooking prosciutto is definitely not the most traditional way of enjoying the cured meat, but it does make for a delicious culinary experiment. The good news is that both bacon and prosciutto can be cooked in virtually the same way without making many (if any) modifications. For instance, much like bacon, prosciutto cooks relatively quickly. It also doesn't need any seasoning as the slices are already salty umami bombs, which further simplifies the cooking process.

Keeping things classic, thinly sliced prosciutto can be pan-fried in a skillet over medium-heat. Within a few minutes, edges will start to curl inwards, signaling that the prosciutto can be transferred to a paper towel or cooling rack. As the slices sit, they'll crisp up. Alternatively, for a more hands-free method, cook prosciutto in the oven. Lay the slices flat on a baking sheet, cooking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes — you can also crisp up the cured meat in the air fryer, so long as you keep an eye on the time.

As for how to serve the bacon-adjacent prosciutto slices, layer them into a revamped BLT or juicy burger. The slightly shrunken slices can even be used as chips on a charcuterie board. Otherwise, crumble them over a cheesy risotto, sweet potato salad, or roasted root vegetables. Of course, serving crispy prosciutto slices atop fried deviled eggs isn't a bad idea, either. Ultimately, there's no telling what tasty combinations await you!