Paletta means 'spade', which recalls the shape of the ham shoulder bone when it is cut lengthwise to form four small pieces.
Coggiola paletta or paletta biellese is made the traditional way in Piedmont's Valsesia district. The meat is put in pots of brine for up to 30 days, and constantly rubbed to encourage the meat to absorb the right amount of salt. Then the paletta is seasoned with pepper, herbs and spices, then stored in the pig's bladder, with holes poked in it to drain off any excess brine. It is then aged for 20 days, and the boiled (with polenta or potatoes). It can also be eaten raw (if aged for four months), then preferably with apple mostarda. Ark of Taste.
A paletta can also be a cake slice.
Images by: Hans Suter