Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Ham of God

Today I was confronted with The Ham of God, thus called because of the devotion my Midwestern brethren have to it's appearance on the Easter table. S.O. called it that and in my mind Ham and God are now one.

As a general rule I don't buy hams I inherit them. If a ham is served at a party I always ask for the bone for soup and get either a few slices or an abundance to go with it. I don't often eat ham, an occasional ham and onion sandwich loaded with mayo suffices once every year or two when I get the craving.

I love cured meats but prefer those aged in Italy that have a nice dose of fat and are tender and wrapped around figs.

The sad truth is that I had a luncheon cancel last week and the ham had already been ordered so I kept the minuscule deposit and they gave me and was gifted the Ham of God which now sits in my refrigerator demanding attention.

I read the ingredients on the glaze pack attached and it has all kinds of savory ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and hydrolyzed vegetable protein;Garbage.

First the glaze.

1/4 cup fig liquor
1/2 cup mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

I rubbed that puppy not only on the ham but down into the slices. Cover and set at 350 oven to warm for one hour.

Then the confit.

The Ham of God is too dry and uninteresting to have on it's own so I made an apple, onion confit.

In a non stick skillet
1 BIG splash of olive oil
2 medium peeled apples thinly sliced
2 medium peeled onions thinly slices

Saute, stir, saute, stir etc. Let the whole mess melt together. You can stop when it's creamy or take it to mildly sweet and carmely. I took mine all the way because quite frankly Ham needs all the help it can get.

Ham tends to cry out for potatoes so what choice did I have?

6 potatoes thinly sliced
Roughly two tablespoons of flour
A little salt but not too much, the ham has enough
A good dose of Cayenne pepper
Half a stick of butter melted
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar (I was short in the cheddar department so I mixed in a little Swiss which ended up tasting great. )
1 clove freshly grated garlic (You have the grater out for the cheese anyway.)
1 teaspoon turmeric

Most recipes I have read Have you layering the potatoes and dusting each layer and slowly drizzling the liquid. I toss the potatoes in a big bowl, shake the flour salt and pepper around and toss in everything else and pour the whole mass in a baking pan. The bits that stick out tend to brown more and are very popular and the whole mass pretty much sorts itself out like a pecan pie. Bake it alongside the Ham of God for an hour or so. The potatoes should be tender and a bit crusty on top.

I did a quick saute of a bunch of string beans with olive oil and garlic.

I served the whole thing to two victims...uh test subjects from Minnesota. I can't invite them to most of my dinner parties because they declare everything 'too spicy', but ham and potatoes are their speed.

I served the meal with a Domaine Laurens Marcillac 2005, which at first taste I thought insubstantial but it had a bright light flavor that really worked with the food.

And now...the opinions.

My friends declared the ham 'better than their Mother's' and 'not too sweet' which from them is high praise.

The potatoes which formed a crust both top and bottom were in my opinion incredible. My subjects loved them as well and told me that 'I clearly didn't use too much garlic or Cayenne or they would have tasted it'. I didn't mention the turmeric or the garlic in the green beans she had wolfed down because she thinks that she hates everything with garlic. I am sure I will get a phone call when they read this tomorrow.

This is heavy food so I just served some berries for dessert. My guests offered to go to the store to 'buy a cake'. We don't eat store bought cake in this house, I just have the feeling they bought one on the way home to have with their decaf Sanka. I had an espresso, I was good.

So for the moment we bid goodbye to the Ham of God, until I start making sandwiches I don't particularly want.

If anyone has ideas for getting rid of ham, please feel free to post them in the comments section.



John and Amanda said...

So did your friends eat the confit?

Chef said...

We ate in reverse. They had a lot of ham and a touch of confit and I had a Ton of confit and a touch of ham.