Three ways with ... leftover ham
Post-Christmas, your jaded palate will be very grateful for these ideas, says Lucy Corry.
TServes 4 as a light meal Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: 15 minutes he Christmas ham could be seen as a metaphor for all that’s wrong with modern society. Such excess! Such decadence! Such despair at the thought of having to eat slice after slice of painstakingly cured pork because the damn thing is taking up too much room in the fridge!
If you fear a surfeit of ham this festive season, here’s a tip: buy a smaller one.
Or, alternatively, buy a big one and start eating it earlier. I’m a big fan of having a hot ham on Christmas Eve, not least because hungry fridge foragers can then make themselves ham sandwiches instead of asking you to cook something in the days afterwards.
Or you could cut these recipes out and hope that they’ll make them for you instead.
1. PASTA WITH HAM, ROCKET AND FRESH PEAS
Salty ham, sweet peas, fiery chilli and peppery rocket collide in this great summer lunch. 400g dried Italian fusilli or penne pasta 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 11⁄ cups chopped ham off the bone
teaspoon chilli flakes 1 cup fresh podded peas (or frozen) 4 handfuls rocket Cook the pasta until al dente in plenty of boiling salted water. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a heavy frying pan. Toss in the garlic and ham and fry, stirring frequently, until the ham is starting to crisp and brown. Add the chilli flakes and keep cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Just before the pasta is cooked, add the peas to the boiling water. Let them cook for 2 minutes, until bright green, then drain the pasta and peas into a warmed waiting bowl. Add the contents of the frying pan, including any residual oil, and toss through. Add the rocket and toss again. Serve immediately.
2. MONTE CRISTO SANDWICHES
Makes 2 toasted sandwiches Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking: 5-7 minutes One of these per person is usually enough, but it’s not for me to be counter of Monte Cristos. These are a very good pick-me-up for anyone suffering from too much of a good time the night before. 4 slices of hearty white bread 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 2 large slices of ham 4 tablespoons cream cheese 4 tablespoons orange marmalade 2 eggs
cup milk 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon oil 1 teaspoon icing sugar Place 2 slices of the bread on a clean board and spread generously with cream cheese. Top with the mustard then the slices of ham. Spread the other 2 slices of bread with the marmalade and lay these on top of the ham to make 2 sandwiches.
Break the eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk in the milk. Carefully dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture, coating both sides (as if you were making French toast).
Melt the butter and oil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Fry the sandwiches until golden brown on both sides – this will take about 5 minutes. Let them drain for a minute or 2 on paper towels, then dust with icing sugar before serving.
3. HAM STOCK
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: about 2 hours (mostly unattended) Don’t be tempted to throw your ham bone to your dog, it’s not good for them. A few containers of ham stock in your freezer is a much better idea, even if soup weather seems a long way off. 1 ham bone, plus any bits and pieces of leftover meat 1 large onion, peeled, halved 1 large carrot, peeled, halved 2 celery sticks, halved fresh herbs (a bunch of parsley, some sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf or 2) Put everything in a large saucepan with about 2 litres of water and set over medium heat. Bring to the boil, skim off any nasty scum on the top, then cover and reduce the heat. Let simmer gently for 2 hours, then remove from the heat and let cool completely.
When cold, strain the stock into a large bowl (discard any solids). Chill in the fridge – when it has set you should be able to scrape off and discard a layer of fat. Divide the stock between some suitable plastic containers with lids and store in the freezer.
Ham it up: Pasta with ham, rocket and fresh peas is a great summer lunch.