Leftover Ham Ideas
This extremely extravagant ham + cheese toastie could only have been dreamt up by the French with all its culinary fabulousness.
Dating as far back as 1910, this rich cheesy little beauty has had several versions over the years but I am partial to the classic.
To make the béchamel sauce heat in the microwave 1 litre of full milk with 1 bay leaf, 2 whole cloves and a small peeled white onion. In a saucepan over medium heat melt 90g butter, add 90g plain flour whisking continuously for 2-3 mins until it becomes sand like in colour. Gradually add in the strained milk whisking continuously. Add a pinch of nutmeg and whisk occasionally for 12-15 mins until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in 300g grated gruyere cheese season to taste. Place into a bowl, cover directly with plastic wrap and set aside to cool a little before you refrigerate for 30 mins.
Preheat the grill to medium-high and line a tray with tinfoil. Take 12 slices of thick white bread [crusts on or off your choice] and brush one side with melted butter. Place under the grill butter-side up until golden and crisp.
Now turn them over and spread them all with Dijon mustard and 2 tbsp of béchamel sauce. Top 6 pieces with 2 thin slices of leftover Hellers Christmas ham and 2-3 tbsp of grated gruyere, pop under the grill for a minute or so till the cheese has melted. Now top with remaining bread toasted side up and finish with a generous amount of béchamel sauce over the top – it’s ok if it drips down the sides!
Pop it back under the grill for about 5 mins until golden and bubbling, cut in half and gobble them up straight away!
Bruschetta with Roasted Nectarines, Ham + Buffalo Mozzarella
Beautiful in season nectarines are the perfect match with ham.
Pair it up with the creamy texture of buffalo mozzarella and the chargrilled crunch of bruschetta this makes a wonderful light supper or snack.
Preheat your oven to 160C and line a tray with baking paper. Cut 6 nectarines in half and remove the cores, place cut side up on the tray. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar, a squeeze of lemon or verjuice and bake till soft and they start to caramelise.
Grill on the bbq over medium flame 3 generous slices of sour dough bread till both sides have distinct chargrilled marks. Remove and lightly rub one side with peeled garlic, season and drizzle with olive oil.
Top with 2-3 slices of buffalo mozzarella, 2 roasted nectarine halves, leftover Hellers Christmas ham cut into fine strips and some torn fresh tarragon leaves.
H.A.L.T [Ham, Avocado, Lettuce + Tomato Sandwich]
A twist on the traditional B.L.A.T! I just love to fry thick slices of leftover Hellers Christmas ham in a little butter + oil till the edges caramelise – very moreish indeed!
Start by slicing a fresh ciabatta roll in half and spreading the bottom with a small amount of good quality tomato chutney and the top firstly with Dijon mustard and then a good-quality mayonnaise.
To the bottom add shredded iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced red onion, ripe tomato and avocado slices. Season at this stage and squeeze a little lemon juice over the avocado.
In a heavy based frying pan melt a little butter and oil till bubbling then place in 2 thick slices of leftover Hellers Christmas ham [make sure you get some fatty bits from the edge they fry up deliciously!]. Fry both sides till golden and the edges start to caramelise then place directly into your prepared roll.
Potato Salad w Christmas Ham + Green Goddess Dressing
Green Goddess is a delicious American dressing that dates back supposedly to 1920. Heavenly creamy, herby and fragrant it will keep well in a jar for up to a week in your fridge.
Boil 1kg of waxy potatoes [little gourmets and jersey bennies are ideal] skin on or scrubbed till just tender. Drain, cool slightly, cut in half then place into a large bowl.
To make the green goddess dressing place in a powerful blender or food processor –
- 1 ripe avocado
- 3 tbsp each of coriander leaves, chopped chives and Italian parsley leaves.
- 10 large basil leaves
- 1 tbsp tarragon leaves.
- 2 spring onions roughly chopped [dark green ends removed]
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 2 tbsp liquid honey
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup buttermilk – you may have to add a little more to thin the dressing if needed.
Finish with sea salt to taste and a twist of cracked pepper.
Add a generous amount of dressing to the cooked potatoes and fold through gently. You can either slice a few pieces of your leftover Hellers Christmas ham onto each serving plate and add the green goddess potato on the side or finely cut it into strips to add directly into your potato salad and serve.
Campfire One Pan Fry-up
Whether you’re away on your summer holidays and have leftover Christmas ham or at home, this quick and simple recipe is easy on the dishes and makes an awesome meal for any time of the day!
Over an open campfire, on top of your bbq or at home on the stove place a heavy based fry-pan over medium heat. Add a little oil + butter and 1 sliced red onion, cook till tender. Add 2 squashed garlic cloves [with the back of a wooden spoon] and 2-3 large slices of leftover Hellers Christmas ham roughly chopped. Fry till it starts to caramelise then add 1 tin of chopped canned tomatoes, a pinch of ground cumin, a few fresh thyme sprigs and ½ sprig of fresh rosemary [dried is fine if you are camping!].
Cook for 10 mins then add 1 can of drained cooked cannellini beans and a large knob of butter. Stir through gently and cook a further 5 mins. Now make a few gaps as the sauce would have reduced a little and crack in 2-4 eggs.
If you are at home you can pop it into a moderate oven or put the cover down on your bbq till the yolks are just starting to set. If you are sitting by the campfire then simple cover in tinfoil and carefully check after 5 mins or so.
Serve with crusty buttered chargrilled sourdough, top the dish with shaved parmesan, ½ lemon zest and freshly chopped Italian parsley – only if you have them handy in your camp chilli-bin!
Orecchiette w Asparagus Pesto, Fried Ham, Soft Boiled Egg + Sourdough Crumb
When I worked for Stephanie Alexander at Richmond Hill Café + Larder in Melbourne one of my favourite dishes was her asparagus pesto on bruschetta with a soft boiled egg.
I have taken this idea and created a delicious summer pasta dish using up the Christmas ham leftovers!
To make the asparagus pesto roast 3 garlic cloves in a moderate oven till soft and caramelised, allow to cool. Steam 500g asparagus till just tender and then plunge into an ice bath to retain the colour. Transfer cooked asparagus and garlic to a food processor and add 185g toasted pine nuts, 75g spinach leaves, 185g grated grana padano, juice of 1 small lemon and sea salt to taste. Blitz well and while the motor is running add a little splash of olive oil till the mixture becomes smooth. Transfer to a container leaving a few cm at the top to seal it with canola oil after you have made the pasta dish. It will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
In a food processer blitz 2-3 slices of sourdough to a fine crumb. Heat a heavy based fry pan over moderate heat with a small amount of olive oil. Add the crumbs stirring continuously as they brown very quickly. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same fry pan add more olive oil and a little butter, fry off 2-3 slices of Hellers leftover Christmas ham chopped roughly into medium pieces. Fry till caramelised and set aside.
Cook Orecchiette till just tender, drain and then transfer back into pot. Add a couple of large spoonfuls of asparagus pesto, the fried ham and toss together well. Transfer to serving bowls and place a soft boiled egg on top of each one. Finish by sprinkling generously with sour dough crumbs, a pinch of lemon zest, more grana padano shavings and a drizzle of good