Spanish Michelin-star chef Javier Estévez, of La Tasquería de Javi Estévez restaurant in Madrid. Photo: ASICI


When it comes to hams, Iberians are the top of the line.

These succulent, flavorful gammon masterpieces of Spain — produced from the acorn-grazed, black-hoofed Iberian pigs found only in the mountainous southern and southwestern regions of that European nation — are the crème de la crème of fatty cured pork.

Photo: ASICI

The history of jamón ibérico is steeped in both mystery and romance, and the ancient oak pastures, the black Iberian pig (descended from the wild boars of Spain), and the crisp, cool mountain air that caresses the fertile valleys where the pigs graze all contribute to the hams’ singular quality.

Spain has been producing jamón ibérico for centuries, and what sets this artisan craft apart is not only the exclusive use of black Iberian pigs, but the careful detail of the process, from the very birthing of the piglets to the meticulous curing of each individual ham.

Indeed, the Iberian ham is the result of a perfect combination of race, breeding, climate, knowledge and natural curing, and the end product is a moist and tender meat with an exquisite blend of unique aromas and tastes.

Spain has been producing jamón ibérico for centuries, and what sets this artisan craft apart is not only the exclusive use of black Iberian pigs, but the careful detail of the process, from the very birthing of the piglets to the meticulous curing of each individual ham.

Much larger in size than their commercial pink counterparts and with far more slender legs and longer snouts, Iberian swine are black, with very little hair.

Photo: ASICI

They have black hooves as well, which is the source of the term “pata negra” that describes the ebony claw that remains on the hams throughout the curing process and distinguishes them from Serrano hams (Spain’s other renowned smoked pork delicacy).

Generously swaddled in yellow fat, crusted with a thin film of protective mold and occasionally still sporting strands of wiry black pig hair, Iberian ham is usually sold only in upscale restaurants and exclusive gourmet shops.

According to Spanish government statistics, about 90,000 Iberian hams are produced each year, and a full 80 percent of those are consumed in Spain.

Here in Mexico, about 3,000 of the pork legs are sold each year, making the country the fourth-largest international market for Iberian ham, after Portugal, Italy and France.

And while Iberian ham may not suit the palate and budgets (particularly the latter) of all Mexicans, sales of the sweetly nutty flavored hams — whether in sliced form, made into sausages or as entire uncut legs — increased by more than 50 percent between 2011 and 2014 (the last year for which figures were available).

Photo: ASICI

The bulk of Mexican sales are earmarked for high-end restaurants in Mexico City, but some select stores like City Market and Palacio de Hierro also offer boneless Iberian ham in hermetically sealed packaging so that patrons can buy the delicacy by the gram.

And what true culinary bon vivant hasn’t savored a plate of wonderfully air-cured jamón ibérico and fresh cantaloupe, along with a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of fine wine (like a nice Rioja or a full-bodied Ribera del Duero)?

Indeed, an appetizer of sliced Iberian ham can easily turn into a meal in itself.

But now the good folks at Inter-professional Iberian Ham Association (ASICI), which has been promoting jamón ibérico with a three-year global Ham Passion Tour since November 2018, want to encourage people to use their product in preparing gourmet cookery.

To help persuade consumers to join their cause, the ASICI has just released a series of new jamón ibérico-based recipes developed by Michelin-star chef Javier Estévez, of La Tasquería de Javi Estévez restaurant in Madrid.

And while using a product that on its own constitutes culinary supremacy may seem counterintuitive (don’t mess with perfection), Estévez — who is known for breaking gastronomic barriers — said that incorporating Iberian ham into his repertoire of ingredients has expanded and elevated his already-ample range of cooking magic.

Despite the ongoing covid-19 lockdowns, the ASICI managed to bring Estévez to Mexico during the months of November and December of last year to present 30 gastronomic training sessions at various high-end Mexican eateries to demonstrate the preparation of three of those recipes.

Photo: ASICI

And while most of us in Mexico City are still locked in our houses living on Campbell soup and Uber Eats pizza, Estévez and the ASICI assured Pulse News Mexico that we, too, can enjoy a lavish meal of epicurean delights produced right in your own little lockdown kitchens.

So, with no further ado, here are those recipes:


Rather than traditional fried croquettes, this recipe uses a base of Iberian ham and a touch of onion, topped with a bechamel sauce and toasted bread crumbs. The idea is to serve them in a bowl and to eat them with a spoon, almost like a soup.


  • 90 grams of butter
  • 90 grams of flour 
  • 1 liter of milk 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 100 grams of diced Iberian ham
  • 100 grams of finely diced white onio
  • 50 grams of toasted bread crumbs
  • Chopped chives


Inverted Iberian ham croquettes. Photo: ASICI
  • Melt the butter and slowly blend in the flour to create a roux batter. 
  • Stir in milk gently to produce the bechamel sauce. 
  • Mix salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and grind in toasted bread crumbs.
  • Pour into a medium-sized bowl.
  • Sautee onion and ham and set them aside.
  • When ready to serve, place the ham and onion mixture in the bowl and top with the bechamel, then sprinkle with the bread crumb and seasoning mixture.
  • Top with chopped chives.


First off, your should know that borage is flowering plant with thick leaves that are sometimes uses as herbs in Mediterranean cuisine. If you cannot get find barrage leaves at your local market, Estévez recommended substituting them with lettuce or arugula leaves.

This dish, uses borage (or a substitute) to intensify the natural flavors of a simple broth garnished with Iberian ham, ground ham powder and chervil or parsley.

Estévez said that it is very important to choose Iberian ham bones or the dried sections of the ham to produce the consommé, thus exploiting every part of the shank.

Photo: ASICI


  • 1 kilo of Iberian ham bones
  • 800 grams of cooked borage, lettuce or other leafy vegetable
  • 20 grams of sliced garlic slivers
  • 10 slices of Iberian ham with very little fat
  • Chervil or parsley buds


  • Place the bones in a pot of cold water to cook and bring to a full boil to clean the bones. Once the water has come to a boil, throw it out and start with a fresh pot of water.
  • Let the broth simmer for two hours, cover and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, saltee the borage with the garlic, and set aside.
  • Fry the Iberian ham slices carefully, and once they are crispy and dry, grind them into a powder and set aside.
  • When ready to serve, place the borage at the base of the bowl with a small pile of the crushed ham on top and serve the consommé around the sides of the ham core.
  • Top with the chervil or parsley.
  • Serve as a side dish with vegetables or fish.


Starting with the delicious and healthy fat of Iberian ham, this recipe creates a delectable mayonnaise to be served with artichoke chips.

The artichoke heart is sliced into super thin slices and deep fried until crispy.

The ham fat is blended with sunflower seed oil to make the mayonnaise.

Photo: ASICI


  • 10 artichokes
  • 3 liters of sunflower seed oil
  • 500 grams of grilled Iberian ham
  • 2 eggs
  • Ground Iberian ham salt


  • Clean the artichokes and slice in to thin chips. Soak them and set them aside.
  • Fry the ham fat to a liquid form and blend with the oil and eggs to create the mayonnaise. Set aside.
  • Fry the artichoke chips until crispy.
  • When ready to serve, place a bit of the mayonnaise at the base of each plate, followed by layers of chips interspersed with layers of mayonnaise. Then sprinkle with the Iberian ham salt.
  • The mayonnaise can also be used to flavor meats, fish or vegetables.

…Feb. 5, 2021


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