Tails & Trotters' raison d'etre was prosciutto. It was always prosciutto. And after five years in business and 10 years in development, the first haunch of Tails & Trotters' Prosciutto Pacifico took its rightful place in the meat case at the NE 24th Ave. retail store on Monday.
You might have forgotten that pork-purveyor T&T was created with the intent of making a particularly Northwest version of Italy's most famous ham, using pigs fattened up on Northwest hazelnuts, just like the chestnut-fed Italian pigs destined for Prosciutto di Parma, or the acorn-fed Spanish pigs that become Jamon Iberico.
Founder Aaron Silverman worked for years on research and development. Finally a breed was chosen, a feeding program dialed in, and Tails & Trotters officially opened for business with a farmers market booth in 2009. But while they sold fresh pork and a variety of cured and smoked pork products, the perfect prosciutto was still years away. This is in part because Silverman is a perfectionist, and in part because he insists on aging his hams for 15 to 18 months, as compared to 9 to 12 months common among imported hams.
At almost $4 an ounce, this is definitely top-shelf pork. Is it worth the splurge? That's for you to decide. But we will tell you this: Eater covertly stopped by to sample it and promptly bought an extravagant amount to take home. It's at once buttery and nutty, salty and sweet, silky and melt-in-your-mouth, with a complexity of flavor that's almost haunting.
Prosciutto Pacifico is only available at Tails & Trotters' shop or by order at its PSU farmers market booth. Get it by the slice, or by the chunk for use in dishes like risotto. They'll even sell you the bone for making soup.