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So much ham

"hams are large because pigs are big." Extra Crispy

My husband loves a bargain and he likes hams, so the other day when we were in the supermarket and the picnic hams were on a special he tried to persuade me to buy one. No, no said I - much too big for two people. So it was left. But lo and behold he went back a day or so later on his own and bought one. So Ok not as big as a leg but I think it was about 3kg of meat. And yesterday being his special meal day he demanded ham.

This is not going to be about that special dish though. It was OK - I braised it with fennel basically - well not all of it, just over half of it and now, of course, I am left with, to my mind, vast amounts of ham that now have to be used up. The photograph actually makes it look less than it is. For the two of us I would say there are at least four meals there, possibly more. Not to mention the third of the ham that I didn't cook.

Yes I know there are tons of things you can do with leftover ham - quiches, pasta, pies, pizza, fritters, soup, omelette ... It's one of the most versatile of meats, and one of my most vital ingredients. Something I always have in my fridge. But honestly it gets boring cooking with the same ingredient, for a week or so. I mean I have cooked this lot which I suspect means that it will go off quicker than the bit that hasn't been cooked so I shall have to get into it. I also think that cooking it makes it a bit more salty than it is uncooked.

So what to do? Well as I said, I do know a lot of things, but I had a look to see what other people suggest and found this somewhat amusing list from Urban List to which I have added some comments of my own.

  1. "The obvious choice is to make a croque monsieur which is French for ‘ham and cheese toastie’. Oui! Having watched my young grandson on Zoom wolf down a ham and cheese toast - and he is a reluctant eater - and also having watched Guillaume Brahimi make the most delicious one I have ever seen the other day, I am tempted. If I wasn't fasting today I'd go and make one now. I could then offer some to the two guys installing our new NBN connection. Our connection is turning out to be a major feat - a new trench has been dug which took them a day. And now I think they are having a go at the last bit.

  2. The ‘traditional’ ham and pineapple pizza. Ha! Ugh from me. Pineapple has no place on pizza - but ham on pizza though - now that is good.

  3. Pea and ham soup. Also a great way to use the ham bone if you’re all about no waste. Yum - I shall be doing this when I get to the last bits with the bone - I bought some green split peas recently, or I could make it with frozen, or I could make David's favourite curried pumpkin and ham soup. Or maybe a corn and ham soup. Endless possibilities.

  4. Ham and parmesan muffins. - I prefer scones - or even soda bread.

  5. Bubble and squeak – be the first to willingly make this dish since 1965. - I would willingly make it, though I'm not very good at it, and David doesn't like it anyway, so I fear that is not going to happen.

  6. Ham sandwiches with fennel slaw on white rolls from Crust & Co. - Well yes - any kind of sandwich that is more than just a slice of ham in bread. Oddly I don't often make 'proper' sandwiches. But I do like them.

  7. Omelettes with ham, cheese and chives. - Yes that's going to happen for sure. Maybe not the cheese, but potatoes and anything else I have in the fridge at the time.

  8. Eggs Benedict with ham and heaps of hollandaise. It's almost like being at Moose & Gibson on a Sunday morning. - Hmm - too hard. Who is Moose and Gibson?

  9. Potato salad flecked with pieces of ham: this actually gets rid of two lots of leftovers. - Love this but it's winter here, and we can't mix with anyone so I don't think that's going to happen. It's also best made in large quantities - no call for that in the COVID19 world.

  10. Give your ham to the little neighborhood dog as a treat. - Currently no dogs in the neighbourhood - well they're not allowed out.

  11. Leave it for the crows, in your enemy’s garden. - Should tell David that one.

  12. Make a ham, sweet potato and sage quiche. - Good idea although, of course, there are lots of possibilities with quiche.

  13. Ham and eggs for brekky, with a side of roasted tomato. - That could be nice if somebody else did it for me and brought it to me in bed! No - that's not going to happen. How could I have argued with my mother every morning when she insisted this is what I had for breakfast?

  14. Eat it cold with brie, olives and crostini if you’re feeling classy. - Well I never really feel classy. In myself that is. But still it makes a good ploughman's lunch kind of thing, or mezze if you're feeling Middle Eastern, antipasti for the Italians. No olives for me though.

  15. Or eat it cold straight from the fridge if you’re feeling hungover. - I try not to be hungover these days, and this is actually not an appealing idea for me anyway. Ham on its own is not as good as with something else - usually cheese or tomato.

  16. Quesadillas with ham, corn and chilli. - I really should try these having watched Jamie do it. But really it's just another toasted sandwich isn't it?

  17. Crispy ham and rocket salad with goats cheese and mango. - How very today! Again - it's winter here not summer. No mangos.

  18. Offload it at a friend’s post-Christmas party. They'll love you forever? - He/she was talking about the Christmas ham leftovers, so it's obviously not Christmas here - or anywhere for that matter - and no parties for the foreseeable future. I doubt they would love you forever anyway - unless you did a ham rich potato salad or something.

  19. Make what is a crazy 80s dish: hamsteaks with pineapple on top. I begged my mum for this dinner at least once a week - again ugh! Ham steaks though are a possibility.

  20. Aim for Heston Blumenthal-level creativity and concoct an impossibly delicious ham gelato." Love that idea, except I'm not good at thinking outside the box. And he/she is only partly joking. Heston is famous for his egg and bacon ice-cream.

And here's what he says about it:

"This is one of my signature dishes at The Fat Duck. What makes this recipe so special is being able to make instant ice-cream at the table with the help of a little dry ice. Dry ice can also be used to turn bought smoothies and custard into ice-creams and sorbets. I serve this dish with marmalade because its bitterness and acidity cut through the richness of the ice-cream."

Dry ice! Marmalade? Well I guess that might work. I suppose that, it might not be such a stupid idea really. After all the best ice cream has the eggs, and hams are often served glazed with various sweet and sour things. And what about salted caramel - same kind of unlikely pairing don't you think?

There are lots of good ideas here, and I have plenty more. But it's the sheer repetition of the ingredient isn't it? It's boring cooking with the same ingredient every day. There are lots of suggestions out there, but I have to say I've really already thought of most of them - or variations thereof anyway.

A challenge. If I think of anything or find anything amazing I will let you know.


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