Puff Pastry with Ham and Cheese

IMAG0542Need a wow of a brunch dish?  This is it!   Ham and cheese encased in crisp buttery puff pastry.  A tart salad alongside goes well.  And why not start with bellinis?

Ingredients

1 lb. puff pastry (See recipe in previous post.)

2 T Dijon mustard

¾ lb. good quality ham, cut into a ½-inch dice

½ lb. Gruyere cheese shredded on large holes of box grater

Egg wash made from I egg and 1 T water, beaten

Procedure

Cut 1 lb. piece of puff pastry in half.  Roll out to fit a 10 X 15 baking sheet. Place parchment paper or a silicone mat on the baking sheet. Transfer pastry sheet to baking sheet.  Spread mustard over sheet leaving a 1-inch border.  Evenly spread ham over mustard, also leaving 1-inch border.  Sprinkle cheese on top of ham.

Roll out the other piece of puff pastry to 10 X 15.  Place on top of cheese layer.  With a small sharp knife cut the edges straight.  Press indentations around the edge with the tines of the back of a fork. Chill for at least 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Take out pastry and brush with egg wash.  Cut a few decorative slits to allow steam to escape.  Place cold pastry in hot oven. This gives the pastry a sudden burst of heat giving it a good start to its rise.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and puffed.  Let cool briefly.  Cut into squares and serve.  Makes 6 servings.

Photo by Michael Kirigin

Maple and Mustard Glazed Easter Ham

A succulent glazed ham is an easy and classic choice for a holiday celebration. And since Easter is right around the corner, why not plan on picking up a half pre-cooked ham, either shank or butt end if you will be serving 12 or fewer people.  For a larger number of people, a whole ham would be your best choice. Providing you’re not going for a smoked country ham, a ready-to-eat ham is an economical choice as it often goes on sale just before Easter.  Even so, look for the best quality. “In natural juices” on the label will assure a better flavor than”with water added”.

Now, which to buy, the butt end or the shank end?  The butt end will provide more meat, although it will be more difficult to slice because of the shape of the bone.

And to accompany your savory entree, how about a batch of Chef David Leite’s airy pull-apart rolls?

Ingredients

½ ready-to-eat, cooked ham, bone-in, uncut (not spiral cut), shank or butt end, 8-11 lbs.

About 50 cloves

Glaze

½ cup champagne vinegar

¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup country-style Dijon mustard

2 T apricot jam

Pinch of kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Remove the ham from the refrigerator still in its wrapping a couple of hours before you’re planning to cook so as to bring it close to room temperature.

2. Make a diamond pattern on the ham by cutting straight lines into the fat with a sharp knife about ½ inch deep parallel to each other.  Score another set of lines at a 45 degree angle to the first to create a diamond pattern. The classic appearance is achieved by inserting a clove at each intersection.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place ham, fat side up in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  Cook ham in oven for one hour.

4. While ham is cooking, make glaze.  In a small saucepan, heat vinegar over medium heat until reduced to 2 T.

5. Add maple syrup, mustard, jam and salt.  Cook, whisking, until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Season with pepper to taste and set aside.

6. Remove ham from oven and brush top and sides generously with one third of the glaze.

7. Return to oven.  Remember that the ham is already cooked so you don’t have to cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees as is often instructed.  The ham will need about another half hour of cooking to achieve an inner temperature between 110 and 120 degrees.  It will be very warm, if not hot, and is more likely to retain its moisture.

8. Baste every ten minutes with the glaze. Don’t baste ham with its own juices as the glaze might wash off.

9. Take the ham out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Photographer Bill Brady

Smoked Ham and White Bean Soup

Does it seem that that big chunk of leftover Easter ham might remain in your refrigerator for weeks, even if you have a large family?  Fear not.  Here is an idea of how to turn that succulent, savory meat and ham bone into an invigorating soup.

Ingredients

3 T olive oil

2 cups small diced onions

1 cup small diced celery

1 cup small diced carrots

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

16 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 Mediterranean bay leaf

1 T fresh thyme, minced or 1 t dried

½ t freshly ground black pepper

2-3 lbs. ham shanks or hocks

6 cups chicken stock (water can be substituted or added if more is needed)

1/4 cup dried lentils

1 large potato, diced

3 cans white beans, such as cannellini, drained

1 t hot sauce, such as sriracha, or to taste

Leftover ham, diced

Procedure

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add onions, celery and carrots.  Sauté until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and pepper.  Cook a few more minutes until spices begin to release their flavors.

Add 2-3 lbs. of ham shanks or hocks and stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes.  Add more stock or water if needed.  Add lentils and potato and cook for 20 minutes..  Remove shanks or hocks and bay leaf.  Add beans and sriracha sauce.  Stir.

To thicken soup, pulse very briefly with a stick blender or take out 2 cups, puree in a food processor and add back to pot.  Remove the meat from the bones and return to pot along with any other leftover ham.  Heat through, taste for seasoning* and ladle into individual serving bowls.  Serve with a crusty bread.  Serves 8-10.

*Not knowing how salty your ham might be, I have omitted salt.  Add to taste if needed.

(photo by Bill Brady)

Easter Ham with Maple and Mustard Glaze

Plated ham with potatoes and spring vegetables

A succulent glazed ham is an easy and classic choice for a holiday celebration. And since Easter is right around the corner, why not plan on picking up a half pre-cooked ham, either shank or butt end if you will be serving 12 or fewer people.  For a larger number of people, a whole ham would be your best choice. Providing you’re not going for a smoked country ham, a ready-to-eat ham is an economical choice as it often goes on sale just before Easter.  Even so, look for the best quality. “In natural juices” on the label will assure a better flavor than”with water added”.

Now, which to buy, the butt end or the shank end?  The butt end will provide more meat, although it will be more difficult to slice because of the shape of the bone.

Ingredients

½ ready-to-eat, cooked ham, bone-in, uncut (not spiral cut), shank or butt end, 8-11 lbs.

About 50 cloves

Glaze

½ cup champagne vinegar

¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup country-style Dijon mustard

2 T apricot jam

Pinch of kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Remove the ham from the refrigerator still in its wrapping a couple of hours before you’re planning to cook so as to bring it close to room temperature.

2. Make a diamond pattern on the ham by cutting straight lines into the fat with a sharp knife about ½ inch deep parallel to each other.  Score another set of lines at a 45 degree angle to the first to create a diamond pattern. The classic appearance is achieved by inserting a clove at each intersection.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place ham, fat side up in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  Cook ham in oven for one hour.

4. While ham is cooking, make glaze.  In a small saucepan, heat vinegar over medium heat until reduced to 2 T.

5. Add maple syrup, mustard, jam and salt.  Cook, whisking, until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Season with pepper to taste and set aside.

6. Remove ham from oven and brush top and sides generously with one third of the glaze.

7. Return to oven.  Remember that the ham is already cooked so you don’t have to cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees as is often instructed.  The ham will need about another half hour of cooking to achieve an inner temperature between 110 and 120 degrees.  It will be very warm, if not hot, and is more likely to retain its moisture.

8. Baste every ten minutes with the glaze. Don’t baste ham with its own juices as the glaze might wash off.

9. Take the ham out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Spiral ham

Everyone’s a Ham by Victor Ribaudo

With Easter fast approaching, many of us are planning the big spread.  A couple of blogs back I spoke about my love affair with lamb.  That’s always been the holiday staple in my home this time of year.  I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t extol the virtues of the ever popular ham.  It also makes an appearance on so many an Easter dining table.

In fact, it almost always seems to be present at any festive holiday meal in America.  Probably because it’s easy to prepare and it just tastes so good!

When I discuss ham with people my age (over 30 is all I’m admitting to) almost everyone has a similar early experience.  Many of us were served the ones that come from those oversized tin cans.  Opening them was a perilous job which my Mom would only entrust to my Dad.  I believe we called them Polish hams in our home.  I don’t know that it really made sense to do so.  I do know that they were usually donned with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries before being popped in the oven to warm through.  They were tasty, especially in the following day’s lunch boxes – nestled between two slices of bread with copious amounts of mustard, of course.

Spiral ham platter

The canned variety doesn’t find its way to my table anymore.  I, as most of my fellow foodies, have graduated to more lofty ham aspirations.  There are all sorts of varieties from which to choose – boneless, bone-in…smoked, sugar-cured…whole, butt, shank, spiral.  You name it, it’s out there and pre-cooked or cured for your convenience.

My personal favorites are the smoky varieties. (Smithfield, yum!) Bone- in, of course.  I mean, who doesn’t look forward to pea soup simmered with a ham bone?  The bone is a must for this home chef.

Lentil and Bean Soup

What’s interesting to me is that although in its purest form ham is just a cured roast, there are so many delectable ways to enhance it.  I like my ham studded with cloves.  Call me a purist, but it just works.  And I prefer it glazed with a sweet concoction.  A nice counterpart to the saltiness of the meat.  (Try Phyllis’ recipe above.  It’s a winner.)

I don’t stop there, though.  Fruit and ham go together like love and marriage.  (Come on, you know it’s true!)  And although pineapple and ham make a heavenly pair, I will often complement mine with peaches sautéed in butter and kissed with a bit of rum.  Over the top for you?  Well, any fruit compote will do, really.  I would stay away from pears and apples for Easter, though.  Too autumnal.

Baguette with ham and brie

Now, I must admit that my favorite uses for ham fall in the leftovers department.  I adore it fried up with eggs the following morning.  Divine.  Sliced and pressed in a panini with brie for lunch.  Irresistible.  Cubed in dinner time soups, stews and salads.  Doesn’t get any better.  Yes, I can eat ham all day long.  My mouth may be dry at midnight, but I’m fully sated.

You know, I’ve just decided to serve ham along with the leg of lamb at my Easter celebration.  I’m hoping that all of the lamb goes, and there’s plenty of ham left over.  It’ll be a salty Monday…and I’m going to enjoy every bit of it.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin

Photographer Bill Brady

Written by Victor Ribaudo

Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com

Abigail-Madison Chase says:

April 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm

This looks delicious I am trying it for Easter!

Roast Pork Loin with Mustard Glaze

Pork Loin, Food & Wine Section, Dating Symbol blog

This is probably the simplest recipe for roast pork loin you are likely to come across. Yet it is very flavorful and satisfying and can certainly constitute company fare. John Clancy, chef, writer, teacher and restaurateur, taught it to me. This is an adaptation of the original recipe which appears in Clancy’s Oven Cookery.

Clancy was a protégée of James Beard and taught with him for eight years. I was most fortunate to study with him when he started his own classes, John Clancy’s Kitchen Workshop.

He opened his restaurant, John Clancy’s, specializing in fish and seafood, in the heart of Greenwich Village in 1981.

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 6)

1 (3 lb.) center-cut pork loin
1 t salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
3 T Dijon mustard
½ cup fresh bread crumbs*
3 T chopped fresh parsley

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle pork generously with salt and pepper. Place on a rack set in a roasting pan and place in the middle shelf of the oven. Roast the pork for 45 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Let the pork rest on the rack. Using a metal spatula, spread it with the Dijon mustard. Toss the bread crumbs and the parsley together, then sprinkle onto the mustard coating. Pat gently on top and sides. Return the pork to the middle shelf of the oven and let it roast for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. The bread crumbs should be lightly browned. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

*Make bread crumbs in a food processor from 2 slices of fresh bread without crusts.

Pork . . . the Other Holiday Meat by Victor Ribaudo

Spiral Ham, Food & Wine Section, Dating Symbol blog

I love pork for the Holidays. Actually, I like it all year round. However, there’s something extra regal and festive about a beautiful pork roast on Christmas Day that really gets me to caroling and having a grand old time. Good food does that to me. Can’t help it. But what is it about pork that has made it a holiday mainstay for so many families throughout the years?

I guess for many cultures, slaughtering the pig has always signified an important occasion. And you know what they say; the only thing that’s not edible where the pig’s concerned is its oink. So there was never any waste. That being said, I really enjoy what many Latino cultures do with pork for Christmas Eve. Most notable is the lechon, or roasted whole suckling pig. They rub it with all kinds of garlic and aromatic goodies and either roast it on a spit or in the oven. Oh man, the skin is so good. When I’m with my Puerto Rican in-laws for the holidays, everyone screams feliz navidad when it’s presented to the table. I sing it.

Roast Suckling Pig, Food & WIne Section, Dating Symbol blog
Roast Suckling Pig

I believe another reason why so many home chefs choose pork as their Christmas feast centerpiece is that its sweet, succulent flavor marries extremely well with so many of the holiday flavors we all demand in December. Yuletide accompaniments like apples, pears, oranges, cranberries, raisins, honey and maple are often close at hand when serving the roast. You’ll find these in the form of chunky homemade apple-cinnamon sauce, pear and raisin chutney, cranberry relish, and honey or maple glazed yams, just to name a few. They are all good friends of pork. Hence, pork makes a lot of sense this time of year.

Bette Pork chop, Food & Wine Section, Dating Symbol blog

So, what will you do with pork for your holiday fetes? Something simple that makes a big impression is a center cut loin roast, bone-in or boneless. If going with the bones, I recommend a rack of pork, which is the same cut that has had the bones frenched. This makes it easier to cut after it is cooked. A simple roasting with some fresh thyme or rosemary is always nice. Or try an easy but delicious mustard glaze as Phyllis suggests in her recipe. You won’t believe the aroma in your kitchen and throughout the house. Guests will think you’ve been slaving over that stove the whole day when all you really did was throw it in the oven. That’s a home run for me.

You can take it a step up the culinary ladder and serve a crown roast of pork. Here two center cut racks of ribs are bent to form a “crown” and then tied together with the bones facing out. Really elegant. Roast as is or you can fill the center with your favorite holiday stuffing. Couldn’t be simpler.

Pork chops are also a good choice for a standout holiday meal. I like them extra thick. Sometimes I even stuff them with a cornbread and cranberry dressing. Again, very easy to prepare. Broiled or roasted, they’re always celebratory in every sense of the word.

Of course, there’s the Christmas ham to consider. Fresh, cured or smoked…bone-in or –out…your choice. Call me old fashioned, but I still like the flavor of cloves, pineapple and maraschino cherries with a cured ham. I know, very 1960’s. But hey, I’m a sentimentalist at heart.

I hope I’ve enticed you to include pork on the menu this Christmas. No, I don’t represent the pork industry. I just feel that it’s a traditional taste that the holidays call for. If you haven’t done so for a while, it might just take you back to Christmas dinners of yore. I think you’ll enjoy the journey.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Written by Victor Ribaudo http://theribaudogroup.com
Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com
Food Stylist http://www.preston-campbell.com
Blog syndicated at http:/www.datingsymbol.com

Grilled Pizza with Ham and Pineapple

You don’t really want to light the oven to 500 degrees on a hot July day,  do you?  This easy grilled pizza should get you in the mood for some outdoor summer relaxing.  Just a few simple ingredients showcase the smoky flavor and crispy crust.

Pizza dough:

2/3 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees)

2 t instant dry yeast

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 t salt

1 ½ T olive oil

Add yeast to warm water, mix and set aside. Place flour and salt in food processor.  Add oil and mix.  Pour yeast mixture around mixture and pulse just until a ball forms.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly.  Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise about one hour until doubled in bulk.  Punch dough down and divide into two equal balls.

Tomato Paste:

2 large flavorful tomatoes cut into 1-inch slices

1 medium Vidalia onion, cut into ½-inch slices, salt and pepper to taste

Place tomato slices on a vegetable grill pan. Set on grill over indirect heat. Turn over after one side begins to char. Place onion slices directly on grill over indirect heat.  Turn over after one side becomes charred. When both tomatoes and onions become soft, mash together and add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

2 T yellow cornmeal for baking sheets

Toppings:

1 1/3 cups coarsely grated fresh mozzarella (Place in freezer for 15 minutes first.)

3 T freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

4 canned pineapple slices, coarsely chopped

6 thin slices cooked ham, coarsely chopped

Prepare a hot grill.  Sprinkle cornmeal over two baking sheets. Roll out each ball of dough into a 10-inch round. Place each on a baking sheet. Slide onto the grill until lightly browned.  Lift up with a large spatula to check the underside.  They cook fast..  Take off the grill with the spatula and turn over onto those same baking sheets.  Brush the tomato paste over each, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the two cheeses over the pizzas.  Arrange pineapple pieces in a single layer over pizzas and sprinkle with ham.  Slide the pizzas onto dry grill.  Cover the grill and cook until the crusts are crisp and brown and cheese is melted.   They can take anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes.  Keep a close watch. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.  Serves 4 to 8.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 365 other followers

%d bloggers like this: