Bistro ham – sometimes called jambon de Paris (literally Paris ham) is a fully cooked and unsmoked type of French charcuterie. Used in classic recipes like croque monsieur and madame and quiche Lorraine, this ham offers the true flavor of a Paris bistro … and it’s now available here.
What’s so special about this ham? Read on to learn more.
Bring the Bistro Home
This particular type of ham is cooked, not smoked, with the fat cap and skin on. This process retains the natural moisture, creates a lush texture, and results in a clean and rich porky flavor. It’s a world away from the smoked hams we are familiar with in America.
Naturally, we make our ham with Berkshire pork, renowned for its flavor and tenderness, and never use artificial flavors, nitrates, nitrites, or phosphates. With pork this good, we don’t need to inject our hams with dubious ingredients to boost their moisture and texture.
Bistro ham is the classic ham used for croque monsieur and madame in France and is also one of three ingredients in the famous yet simple jambon-beurre sandwich. The other two are unsalted, softened French butter and a thin baguette, which combine to make a much-loved Parisian specialty. As of 2014, the French were buying 1.28 billion jambon-beurre sandwiches every year.
Eating Bistro Ham
Because the pork is cooked with the skin on, collagen is released, and you will find a layer of natural gelatin covering the ham, as well as some juices. The gelatin is safe to eat, but can easily be removed by brushing or wiping the skin.
Drain the natural juices from the package, and wipe or brush off the layer of gelatin from the skin. While the gelatin is safe to eat, it may not be welcome in your cooking plans.
If you have a meat slicer, you can cut right through the skin layer for thin slices, in the American style, or opt for thicker French-style slices using a sharp knife. You may also remove the skin with a knife – just cut into the rind and gently separate it from the ham underneath, a section at a time, before slicing or cubing the ham.
You’ll find many ways to incorporate this ham into your recipes.
Making a Ham and Cheese Sandwich Like the French
To make a ham and cheese sandwich like the French, layer several slices of bistro ham with good cheese on a thin baguette with Dijon mustard. This can be served pressed and hot, like our tasty recipe for Ham, Cheddar & Apple Panini with Honey Mustard.