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What are you going to do with your leftover ham?

Written by Rebecca Christian

I confess I have very Elvis-y plans for mine tonight: a ham sandwich on white bread (I like Pepperidge Farm Very Thin), though I fear with plenty of Durkee's dressing, the sandwich will not render me Very Thin, in fact Rather Stout.

That still leaves one person with an abundance of ham, however, so I've been looking through some of our recipes for more upscale ways to put the pig to rest.

Here is a Frenchy version of the humble ham sandwich that sounds good, from the collection of Ariane Daugine, who specializes in the cuisine of Gascony and was the subject of our story "French Lessons":

Croque Monsieur Au Jambon De Bayonne

1 loaf baguette-style French bread
4 tablespoons butter or truffle butter, softened
8 ounces jambon de Bayonne or prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh arugula or spinach
4 ounces Comté or Gruyère cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut baguette in 4 equal sections. Slice each section in half horizontally. Spread butter on cut sides of bread. Top bottoms of bread with jambon de Bayonne, arugula, and half the cheese. Top with top halves of bread. Top bread with remaining cheese. Place sandwiches on baking sheet; bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.

This next one might be a rather expensive way to dispatch leftovers, because you'd have to buy oysters, but if you're in a Nawlins' state of mind, why not?

Oysters Bienville

This dish is named for the founder of New Orleans, Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. It was created at Arnaud's Restaurant in the French Quarter. As Antoine's was known for Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters Bienville became one of Count Arnaud's signature dishes.

1/2 cup thinly sliced bacon (4 slices)
1 cup diced ham (1/4-inch pieces)
3 cups finely chopped yellow onion
2 cups finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped green sweet pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, crushed; and dried oregano, crushed
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (4 cloves)
2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped, peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup Dry Sack Sherry®
1 cup oyster liquor or clam juice
3 cups half and half or light cream
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour 36 oysters on the half-shell
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

In a 4- to 6- quart Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of drippings. Add ham; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onions, celery, peppers, and bay leaf. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion becomes soft and clear (about 10 minutes).

Reduce heat to low. Add salt, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add shrimp; cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sherry; cook for 1 minute. Add oyster liquor; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan.

Add half and half; bring mixture to boiling over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove bay leaf; discard. Using slotted spoon, remove 1 1/4 cups of vegetable mixture; set aside. Using a blender or an immersion blender, blend remaining mixture until smooth. Return blended mixture to pan.

Make a blond roux: in small skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Gradually whisk in flour; cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Bring sauce to boil and gradually add roux, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover; chill 3 hours or until fully chilled. Cover and chill reserved vegetable mixture.

Open oysters in shells (see tip below). With a knife, remove oysters from shells; drain well. Wash shells. Place each oyster in the deep half of each shell. Arrange on bed of coarse rock salt in shallow pans. (Or, steady shells on pan lined with crumpled foil.)

To serve, preheat oven to 500°F . Remove vegetable mixture from refrigerator; set aside until serving time. Top each oyster on the half-shell with about 3 tablespoons sauce. Bake for 15 minutes. Top each oyster with a rounded teaspoon of the reserved vegetable mixture. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs. Serve immediately. Makes 36 oysters (8 to 10 servings).

How about an omelet with a Phd.? This one is also from Ariane Daugine:

Pipérade

2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 Roma tomatoes, cut into thin wedges 3 medium green and/or red sweet peppers, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, sea salt, or salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces jambon de Bayonne, or other cooked ham, cut 1/4 inch thick
1 recipe Omelets (see below)
Roasted garlic cloves*

In large skillet cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes to skillet; bring to simmer. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add sweet peppers, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until peppers are tender and liquid is evaporated.

Meanwhile, cut ham (jambon de Bayonne is available at dartagnan.com) into serving-size pieces; cook in skillet over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet; drain on paper towel. Cover to keep warm.

Prepare Omelets, and serve alongside ham and sweet pepper mixture, and roasted garlic cloves. Makes 4 servings.

Omelets: Just before serving, prepare omelets. In medium bowl combine 4 eggs, 1 tablespoon water, dash salt, and dash ground black pepper. Beat with fork until combined but not frothy. Heat 8-inch nonstick skillet with flared sides over medium-high heat until skillet is hot. Add 1 teaspoon butter to skillet. When butter has melted, add one-fourth egg mixture to skillet; lower heat to medium. Immediately begin stirring eggs gently but continuously with wooden spoon or plastic spatula until mixture resembles small pieces of cooked egg surrounded by liquid egg. Stop stirring. Cook 20 to 30 seconds more or until egg is set but shiny. Remove from heat. With spatula, lift and fold omelet into desired shape. Place on serving plate. Prepare 3 more omelets with remaining egg mixture, adding 1 teaspoon of butter to skillet before cooking each omelet.

*To roast garlic cloves: Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel away dry outer layers of skin from 2 heads of garlic, leaving inner skins and cloves intact. Cut off pointed tops (about 1/4 inch), leaving bulb intact but exposing individual cloves. Place garlic heads, cut side up, in 10-ounce custard cups. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover with foil. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until cloves feel soft when pressed. Separate cloves to serve.

Do you have a great recipe for leftover ham? We'd love to see it.

 

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