Ask Mary, blog, Ingredient of the day, Recipes

How to and recipes: Ham for Easter

This Easter it’s probably not even a question of whether or not you’re serving ham. The succulent, sweet and saltiness flavor of ham is a perfect addition to any table or buffet. Even though it is done every year, the great news is it’s a classic main course and if you’re not serving it your guests might wonder what else you’re serving.  Other great things about ham- it comes in large portions, it’s very reasonably priced and most hams are already cooked.Strawberry glazed ham on thyme biscuits

Even though hams are mostly cooked you might still want some helpful hints on how to buy and how to serve it.

Here are a few helpful hints to help you decide what you should buy and how to buy it.

What is Ham?

The ham is the delicious and fatty part of the butt and the shank of the pig. The ham is cured (a combination of salt, sugar and possibly nitrates rubbed into the meat over a 2-6 day period) to draw excess moisture out and to help preserve the meat.

History of why we eat ham:

Before there was refrigeration people use to cure meat. Curing meat was a long process that would take all winter and typically it would be ready around Easter.

Buying:

Grocery stores do not sell raw hams, they only sell precooked hams and if you’re lucky you can find the spiral sliced which is perfect for parties. Despite the desire to cook a raw ham the ease of a precooked ham will quickly outweigh the cost and the effort needed to cook a raw ham.

Ham will cost you between two to three dollars a pound and it comes in many different weights but typically it weighs between 9 and 11 pounds. Assume 3 to 4 servings per pound.

Prepping and cleaning:

First remove the packaging but be sure to keep the directions on how to reheat the ham. The trick to prepping a delicious ham is to find a pan big enough with a tall side to cook the ham in. The tall side will keep the juices with the ham and prevent spillage when taking it out of the oven. When buying an already cooked ham there is no need for cleaning.

(c) Traditional Home, Meredith company. Photo by Peter Krumhardt

(c) Traditional Home, Meredith company. Photo by Peter Krumhardt

Cooking:

Read the instructions on the ham but most heat in about 12-15 minutes covered on a 325-degree oven. Remember these hams are already cooked so you are just reheating them.

Serving

Ham can be bought in two ways whole and spiral cut. To make you life easier, purchase the spiral cut. Serve your ham with delicious butter rolls and asparagus. Don’t forget to provide a honey Dijon mustard to add to the flavor of the ham.

Honey Dijon for the Ham

·      ½ cup honey

·      ¼ cup Dijon mustard

Whisk the two together until it is blended well. Serve with your ham.

MY FAVORITE:

Last year I created a ham recipe that is out of this world for Traditional Home Magazine and I highly recommend if you need a new way to serve ham you try this recipe—Ham glazed with strawberry sauce served on a thyme biscuit with Burratta cheese. It is a spectacular dish for any occasion but especially for Easter.  If you need a hint of ham to remind people it’s Easter but you don’t want to cook a ham try my delicious homemade cheddar cheese straws wrapped in serrano ham.