We rarely buy processed meats such as ham. For some reason, we bought this country ham which appears to be salt cured but not smoked. I was thinking that this could be used in lieu of thinly sliced pork belly (or sanmai niku 三枚肉) which is one of the most favored cuts of pork in Japan. Since I had blanched green asparagus, I made asparagus rolls wrapped in the country ham.
Since the asparagus was rather thin (so-called pencil asparagus), I bundled three to make one roll. I used a mixture of flour and water to seal the end of the rolls.
I started cooking in a non-stick frying pan with a little bit of olive oil on medium heat. I turned the rolls over after one to two minutes to brown all the surfaces and make them crispy.
I cut the rolls into three pieces and served (the first picture). My first attempt was a failure. This country ham was so salty that it bordered on inedible although the ham became nicely brown and crispy at the edges, I think no matter how I served this country ham, it would be too salty for us. I noticed that the instructions suggested removing some of the salt by soaking it in slightly warm water for 10 minutes. I tried it and it sort of worked but it was not worth the effort. So unless you are partial to salty country ham, this is not the dish for you. I’m glad we tried it but I think we will stick to using pork belly or bacon.