Ham is the main event for most people’s Easter Sunday feast. The challenge is what to do with all the leftovers.
To me, the best part about having an Easter ham is all the possibilities for future meals. There are omelets, frittatas and baked eggs. There are ham sandwiches, ham salad and chef’s salad. There are casseroles, pasta dishes and many pots of ham-seasoned bean soup.
I’ve gathered a list of my favorites. Some old, some ne, and some out-of-this-world good. (If you make no other recipe, try the ham and cheese pastry puffs.)
1. Ham salad: Nothing can be easier to make than this sandwich spread. Trim fat from ham slices. Chop ham in food processor. Add mayonnaise and pickle relish to taste and enjoy between two slices of bread.
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2. Deviled ham: You can make a fancy ham salad by taking 4 cups coarsely chopped ham and adding 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 6 tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons dry white wine, 1 finely chopped celery rib, 2 finely chopped green onions, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper. Cover and chill for up to 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before enjoying with crackers or rustic bread. Makes about 4 cups.
3. Ham, cheese and apple sandwiches: Turn broiler on high. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Slice 8 ounces Gruyere or cheddar cheese. Core and slice 1 apple. Brush butter onto 1 side of 8 bread slices. Slather other side with Dijon mustard to taste. Assemble 4 ham, cheese and apple sandwiches so buttered sides of bread face out. Put on rimmed baking sheet. Toast 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve immediately.
4. Judy’s warm ham and cheese rolls: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split 24 (2-inch) potato rolls in half. Combine 8 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons grated onion, 2 tablespoons each Dijon mustard and poppy seeds and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan; cook, stirring, over low heat until butter melts. Brush butter mixture evenly over both cut sides of rolls. Place ham slices and Gruyere cheese slices on bottom halves of rolls. Top with other roll halves. Place sandwiches together on large piece of foil, wrap tightly and seal edges. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese melts. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
5. Ham and cheese pastry puffs: Place one (17.3-ounce) package of frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator to defrost for 30 minutes. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder; 1/2 teaspoon each onion powder and ground cloves; 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, ground allspice and ground cinnamon; 2 teaspoons black pepper; 1 tablespoon chili powder; and fine sea salt to taste. Set aside. Unfold puff pastry and cut into 5-inch squares. Lay slices of ham and Gruyere cheese in the center of each pastry square. Sprinkle with spice mix. Fold opposite corners of each pastry square to make a pouch and press to seal. (Pierce with a toothpick to increase likelihood they stay sealed.) Transfer to baking sheet. Whisk together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water to create egg wash. Brush pastry evenly with egg wash. Sprinkle with more spice mix. Bake 12 to 14 minutes. Remove, let cool for 10 minutes. Makes 8 pastries.
6. Ham biscuits: Make a batch of homemade or store-bought biscuits. Cut biscuits in half, top with a slice of ham and slather with mustard, chutney or hot pepper jelly. This makes a great breakfast or snack.
7. Mac and ham and cheese: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 12 ounces ziti, per package directions; set aside. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup flour and cook until mixture bubbles and turns pale beige, about 2 minutes. Whisk in 4 cups whole or low-fat milk, until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in 12 ounces grated Gruyere cheese; 1 pound chopped ham; one (9-ounce) package thawed, drained frozen artichoke hearts; 1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard, mango chutney and minced tarragon leaves.
Remove pan from heat and stir in cooked pasta. Pour mixture into 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.
8. Ham, wild mushroom and pea pasta: Cook 16 ounces pasta, per package instructions. Sauté 1/4 pound chopped ham in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, for 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Add 3 thinly sliced shallots; sauté 1 minute. Add 8 ounces sliced, assorted wild mushrooms and 1 thinly sliced garlic clove, stirring for 2 minutes until tender. Stir in 1 cup white wine. Cook for 5 minutes until reduced by half.
Add 1/2 cup frozen peas; 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; 1/4 cup heavy cream; 3 tablespoons butter; 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; and 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese. Stir until cheese melts, then stir in hot cooked pasta and toss to coat. Serve with grated Romano cheese for topping. Serves 6-8.
9. All-American chef’s salad: Place 5 cups mixed lettuces; 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and chopped flat-leaf parsley; 2 peeled, sliced carrots; 1 cored, sliced red pepper; 1/2 small sliced red onion; and 1/2 pint grape tomatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette. Divide salad among four plates. Top each with shredded roasted chicken, chopped ham, shredded Cheddar cheese and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Serve with more vinaigrette.
10. Two-potato and ham hash: Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over low heat. When oil is hot, add 8 ounces chopped ham and 1 small sliced onion. Stir until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and grate 2 russet or Yukon gold potatoes and 2 medium sweet potatoes into a colander.
Squeeze out moisture. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. When ham is lightly browned, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and swirl around. Add potato mixture and spread it out evenly in pan. Raise heat to medium, shake skillet occasionally, until potatoes crisp on bottom, about 6-8 minutes. Turn potatoes with spatula (in pieces is fine). Continue to cook, another 6-8 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 4.
11. Eggs baked with grits and ham: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish. Cook 1/2 cup quick-cooking grits, per package directions. Add 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese; 3/5 cup chopped ham; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder to cooked grits. Stir until cheese melts. Scrape grits into prepared baking dish. Create four egg-shaped indentations in grits. Crack 1 egg into each.
Top with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Bake until whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 15-20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with chopped green onions. Serves 4.
12. New Orleans ham and artichoke Alexandria: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 pound thinly sliced mushrooms and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add two (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered.
Stir for 7 minutes, and transfer mixture to bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in pan, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups milk slowly, whisk until thickened. Add 2 tablespoons dry sherry and salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 cups grated Swiss cheese and stir to melt. Add mushrooms and artichokes.
Stir, keep on low heat. To serve, split 3 English muffins, top each half with a slice of ham and a spoonful of artichoke mixture.
These recipes appeared in or were adapted from these cookbooks:
2. “The Southern Living Community Cookbook,” by Sheri Castle (Oxmoor House, 2014)
3, 10. “How to Cook Everything Fast,” by Mark Bittman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)
4. “Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen,” by Sara Foster (Random House, 2011)
5. “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook,” by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day (Artisan, 2012)
7. “Ham,” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Abrams, 2010)
8. “Six O'Clock Solutions,” by Southern Living (Oxmoor House, 2013)
9. “Fresh Every Day,” by Sara Foster (Clarkson Potter, 2005)
11. “Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible,” by Paula Deen with Melissa Clark (Simon & Schuster, 2011)
12. “Pig: King of the Southern Table,” by Jim Villas (Wiley, 2010).