Everything That’s Wrong with the $40 Ham Sandwich From Jezalin’s Gourmet Market

When you are eating the world's most expensive ham, you should not feel like you're eating beef jerky.

So we weren't too happy with the $39.99 sandwich of jamòn Ibèrico at Jezalin's Gourmet Market in the Flatiron's Limelight Marketplace.

Why so pricey? The sandwich is piled high with the fabled jamòn Ibèrico de bellota, Spain's crazy-good black-footed ham. Since the ham itself often retails for $100+ per pound, the sandwich price is understandable. And any $40 sandwich is going to get its fair share of press coverage, as this has. But I'm guessing Florence Fabricant hasn't tried the sandwich of which she writes so approvingly. At least, I'm hoping she hasn't. Because the "Conquistador" is a tale of good ingredients gone bad.

Mmm, Jamón

First things first: we're of the opinion that good ham is worth every penny. We all choose our own indulgences, of course—whether you're willing to shell out $25 for a quarter-pound of ham is an entirely personal decision, just like whether you're willing to pay $1000 for designer purse or $400 on a fine Barolo. But for superior products, you pay a premium, and jamòn Ibèrico de bellota is as superior as ham gets.

"Iberico ham makes prosciutto de Parma seem like a ham starter kit," Ed once wrote, and that's exactly right. Made from acorn-fed black-footed pigs raised in the wild, dry-cured in the Southwest of Spain, it's barely sweet, slightly nutty, and the most complicated, intense, dizzyingly delicious ham you'll ever encounter. Taste it against prosciutto sometime and you'll see what we mean. After a bite, you don't want to eat or drink anything else or brush your teeth or breathe out too quickly: you want it on your tongue for the rest of your life.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: New York Serious Eats