In How Do You Take Yours?, The Takeout solicits staff and outside expertise for secret tips on improving one dish.
The Monday following Easter is the only day each year when a person can justify a complaint about “too much ham.” (The other 364 days, there exists no such thing.) After you’ve gorged yourself on honey-baked, spiral-glazed slices all weekend, it seems there’s still a formidable stack in the fridge. Sandwiches are the obvious leftover cure, but let’s get more creative, shall we?
Jerome “Spike” Williams, Playt Restaurant in Hayward, California
One of my favorite things to do is to thinly slice the ham, adding onions and cooked potatoes. Sauté everything in a skillet and place a few whole eggs on top and baked for about 6 minutes. Makes for a nice hardy breakfast. I’ve also used chopped ham—with assorted baby vegetables that are cooked and finished with honey mustard dressing—as a filling for lettuce wraps.
Kate Bernot, The Takeout associate editor
My mom used to make a sour cream, ham, and noodle dinner when my brother and I were kids. We were obsessed. It was just cooked pasta, lightly browned ham chunks, and sour cream tossed around in a skillet. I wouldn’t call it health food, obviously, but even my picky-eater brother finished his whole plate.
Fred Noinaj, chef, Lost Lake in Chicago
Being a broke line cook for a long time makes you resourceful, so I know how to navigate leftovers. While I don’t celebrate Easter, I do appreciate a nicely cooked ham. What comes to mind is using leftovers for a good fried rice, something I ate a lot of growing up. Cut the ham into strips and throw it in your favorite fried rice recipe. I like to make sure there are eggs, scallions, soy sauce, ketchup, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and leftover greens like kale, green beans, or peas. Really, you can use any leftover veggie sides that aren’t sauced or mashed, just throw them in at the end.
Taylor Smith, Drake’s Brewing Company, San Leandro, California
Frankly, the best part of ham is the leftovers. We don’t think about it much these days, but deviled ham is still delicious and makes a good sandwich or dip for crackers, especially if you combine forces with all those boiled eggs you’ll have lying around.
Also, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for a good southern style biscuit with an obscene amount of butter on it and a nice slice of seared ham. That was a favorite snack of mine that my grandmother would make for me.
Jimmy Lebron, executive chef, 27 Restaurant & Bar in Miami, Florida
Use that leftover ham to make Clams & Ham. When I think of clams I always think chorizo, but if you have some extra ham why not use that instead. I would dice up the ham, toss it in a pan with some oil, get some nice color on it. Add cherry tomatoes and let them get blistered, add shaved fennel, chopped shallots, chopped garlic, add your clams and a pinch of paprika. Deglaze with fino sherry and wait till they open. Garnish with some parsley, lemon zest and serve with some bread.
TJ Steele, chef/partner, Claro in Brooklyn, New York
I likes to use leftover ham to make tamales. I add quesillo and rajas and then stuff the tamale with the mixture. Tamales are already a great breakfast food and I love the flavor of smoked ham in the morning so it’s basically the perfect leftover mashup.
Kevin Pang, The Takeout editor-in-chief
Hey, y’all remember Paula Deen? She used to be on TV, then she said something about a group of people and was ostracized? Let us not forget that she was known for coming up with some outrageously indulgent dishes with copious amounts of butter and mayonnaise—but much of it was also damn delicious (in our household we swear by her oxtail recipe). Anyways, we’re talking about ham, and the Paula Deeniest thing you can do is turn it into ham salad. Here’s her exact recipe, but in short, you whazz up ham in a food processor, along with celery, onions, hard-boiled eggs, mustard, relish, and lots of mayo. It’s great with salad or a thick piece of buttered toast.
Gwen Ihnat, The Takeout deputy managing editor
Here’s my recipe for O’Brien potatoes:
3 lb. potatoes
2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1 green pepper
3/4 lb. ham
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and dice potatoes. Put in bowl and mix with oil, salt, and thyme, covering completely. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes until potatoes are tender. (You can also do this step the night before.) While potatoes are baking, peel and dice one onion. Seed and dice one green pepper. Dice the ham, about 3/4 pound. In a large skillet, sauté vegetables and ham in medium high heat oil until onions are soft. When potatoes are ready, combine with vegetables until thoroughly mixed. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
A.E. Dwyer, The Takeout contributor
I used to make breakfast burritos in one big batch, freeze them, and I’d have ready-made breakfast the entire week. Here’s how I make them: Sauté diced red bell peppers and onions until soft, then set aside. Then sauté cubed potatoes with seasoning salt and pepper until tender. Set potatoes aside with peppers and onions. Next, add diced ham and butter to skillet with eight beaten eggs and cook until barely set, but still wet. Turn off flame. Lay out six 10-inch flour tortillas. On each tortilla, spoon two tablespoons of potato/pepper/onion, and evenly divide ham/eggs. Sprinkle with cheddar or pepper jack cheese. Be sure the filling is running from 12-to-6, leaving an inch on each end, so that you’re able to roll neatly into a burrito. Wrap each completed burrito in foil, store in Ziploc bag and freeze. When you’re ready to eat, remove foil and microwave on high for one minute, flip over, and microwave on other side for another minute.