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Charcuterie boards are more popular than ever. With its variety of mouth-watering cold cuts, cheese, fruits, nuts, and more, artfully displayed on a wooden board, meticulously arranged charcuterie boards seem to be everywhere these days. However, a charcuterie board is incomplete without capicola and prosciutto. For some people, these two antipasti may share many similar characteristics; so, what are the differences between capicola and prosciutto?
The main difference between capicola and prosciutto is the portion of the pig from which the meat is taken. Capicola is taken from the hog’s neck or shoulder region, while prosciutto is from the hog’s hind leg. Aside from this distinction, capicola and prosciutto also vary in terms of taste, price, and size. To learn more about capicola and prosciutto and their similarities and differences, keep reading.
What is Antipasto?
Antipasto is an Italian specialty that translates to “before the meal.” It varies from region to region. It’s usually a small serving of delectable bites served with wine or beer to whet the palate before the main course. Classic antipasto platters usually contain prosciutto, dry-cured salami, capicola ham, pancetta, bresaola, and more.
Antipasti has a lot of myths, starting with the term itself. Antipasto is often misunderstood in the United States as a meal served before a pasta course. Although this is often the case, it isn’t the true sense of the word. The word “antipasto” comes from the Latin root “anti,” which means “before,” and “pastus,” which means “meal.” As a result, the antipasto course actually refers to a selection of appetizers.
What Is Capicola?
A must-have for charcuterie boards and antipasto platters, capicola is a tasty dry-cured salami made from pork. To be more specific, it is taken from a certain muscle from a pig’s neck or shoulder area called the “coppa.” As such, this cut is also known as coppa or capocollo in some regions in Italy and Corsica. This portion of the hog has an excellent meat-to-fat ratio and typically weighs around 2.5 pounds.
Capicola has been produced since the early 1800s, according to historical records, but its origins are thought to have been in the period of Magna Graecia in between the 8th and 5th centuries BC.
Capicola is processed more distinctly than many other varieties of cold cuts because, unlike other cured meats, it’s seasoned and processed as a whole cut and not ground up. The meat is first dry-cured for several weeks or months before seasonings are added. The end result is fatty but not overpowering, artfully flavored, somewhat smoky, and is then thinly sliced upon serving.
What is Prosciutto?
Prosciutto, which is Italian for ham, is made from the meat of a pig’s hind legs. Prosciutto crudo, which refers to uncooked, dry-cured ham, is the popular form of prosciutto in the United States.
Prosciutto Crudo’s origins date back to early Roman times. To supplement the availability of meat during winter months, villagers in Italy came up with the solution of dry-aging pork legs. The art of making prosciutto has been mastered over the years and is now renowned all around the globe.
Prosciutto is made by salting meat and letting it sit for a few weeks. The salt pulls blood and moisture out of the flesh at this stage, preventing bacteria from growing. The flavors of the meat also become more distinct throughout the process.
After that, the meat is kept for 60 to 90 days in cold, humid environments. Once the salt curing process is complete, the meat is then washed, and the salt is rubbed off. The ham will then be placed in large rooms with circulating breezes to dry for a year or more. It is said that the distinct flavor profiles of different Italian prosciutto crudo are because of the unique nature of the winds in which this curing process is conducted.
What Is the Difference Between Capicola and Prosciutto?
Capicola and prosciutto seem to have a ton of similarities and can easily be substituted for one another. For one, both are dry-cured pork slices that are thinly sliced, eaten raw, and are must-haves for a charcuterie board or antipasto platter.
As mentioned earlier, their primary distinction is from which portion of the pig they are taken from. Prosciutto is produced from the pig’s hind leg, while capicola is produced from portions of the neck or shoulder.
However, there are several other ways in which both antipasti differ from one another. The following elaborates how capicola and prosciutto vary in terms of taste, price and serving size.
Capicola vs Prosciutto: Taste
One of the primary differences when it comes to capicola and prosciutto is the distribution of fat. Because capicola is taken from a pig’s neck or shoulder, it boasts an exquisite marbling of fat throughout the meat. On the other hand, being taken from a pig’s hind leg, prosciutto features a primary band of fat that runs along the meat’s outside edge.
Capicola vs Prosciutto: Price
The lengthy process for producing prosciutto makes it more expensive than capicola. As mentioned earlier, prosciutto is made from a whole bone of ham that takes a year, and sometimes even two, to dry-cure. Because it takes a longer time to make, prosciutto can cost two times as much as capicola in most instances.
Capicola vs Prosciutto: Serving Size
Both prosciutto and capicola are sliced thinly for serving. However, capicola is eaten in smaller servings and is perfect for a fast snack because of its small size. On the other hand, since a slice of prosciutto can’t be eaten in one mouthful, it needs to be cut in pieces to create single-serving bites.
Conclusion: Differences Between Capicola and Prosciutto
Capicola and prosciutto may seem very similar to the average person. They are both dry-cured meats from a pig that are sliced thinly upon serving. So, how do these two differ? These charcuterie board and antipasto platter staples have one key distinction: from where the meat is taken from a pig. Capicola is taken from the neck and shoulder part of the hog, while prosciutto is cut from a hog’s hind legs. Both antipasti may also vary in terms of taste, price, and serving size