There are over 40 different types of dry-cured ham in the display case at my supermarket: Prosciutto from Italy, Serrano from Spain, Westphalian from Germany, Bayonne from France and a few dozen more better and lesser known varieties from all over Europe.
There are around a dozen types of wet-cured hams, in big, perfect, long ovals.
All of the hams are typically sliced anywhere from very thin to paper thin and used in cooking, on sandwiches or served with fruit or cheese as nibbles and starters.
The price varies, from 4.95 euro per pound for the cheapest wet-cured ham to more than 25.00 euro per pound for the most expensive dry-cured ham.
The only type of ham I have not been able to find here is the traditional American bone-in (or out) ham for Christmas dinner. The whole, half or quarter ham that has not been taken apart and put back together in a perfect oval.
Sometimes one must just improvise.
The other day, at the supermarket, I eyed the wet-cured hams as soon as I got there. I had decided that I would buy the 'end' of a ham. They are usually about 10" (25cm) across and 15" (37cm) or more in length when they are uncut. I was looking for the last 3 – 4 inches for a 'roast'. There were 3 likely prospects, and, by the time I got back to the counter one was almost perfect.
Then comes the challenge.
I told her I would like the entire piece.
We went back and forth a few times whilst I assured her I really wanted all of it.
Then she turned around to slice it, all of it – very thinly, or course.
I stopped her in time.
She eyed me rather strangely, but wrapped it up and handed it to me…. uncut.
It was good.
I'm going to do that more often.
Not only did we have a lovely Glazed Ham, twice, and a quiche, but I have enough for three more dinners in the freezer.
I feel so very thrifty!
A fully cooked ham should be baked to an internal temp of 140F (60C), about 20 minutes per lb.
A ham that must be cooked should reach an internal temp of 160F (71C), 35 minutes per lb. for small hams and 22 minutes for larger (over 5 lbs) hams. All times assume a 325F (165C) oven.
1 small ham, about 4 lbs (2000gr)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tbs red wine vinegar
Put ham on rack in roasting pan and roast in 325F (165C) oven. About 30 minutes before it's done mix the sugar, mustard and vinegar. Remove the ham from the oven. Remove the skin if there is any, score the fat with a sharp knife (diamond pattern is pretty). Pat the brown sugar mixture over the top of the ham and return to oven. Finish baking. Allow ham to rest for 15 – 20 minutes before slicing.
Serve with Mustard Sauce, of course.
In addition to this, for the week of December 24 we have Roast Beef Tenderloin, Smoked Salmon, Ham and Spinach Quiche, Turkey and Leek Pasta and Christmas Cookies….
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