Italian prosciutto can cost $20 to $25 a pound if Spain's legendary jabugo ham ever reaches these shores, it'll probably run at least twice that. Monte Mathews reports that he's never paid more than 99 cents a pound for a ham to use for this unfailingly popular party dish.
For Ham: One 15 lb. smoked ham, on the bone
1-1/2 cups orange marmalade
1 cup dijon mustard
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 rounded tbsp. whole cloves
1. For ham, preheat oven to 300 degree F. Trim tough skin and excess fat from ham. Put ham in a large roasting pan and score, making crosshatch incisions over it with a sharp knife. Roast for 2 hours. Remove ham from oven and increase heat to 350 degrees F.
2. For glaze, combine orange marmalade, mustard and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stud ham with cloves, inserting one at the intersection of each hatch, then brush entire surface of ham generously with glaze and return to oven.
3. Cook ham another 1-1/2 hours, brushing with at least 3 times. Transfer to a cutting board or platter and allow to rest for about 30 minutes. Carve and serve warm or at room temperature.
"When I first moved to New York City," advertising copywriter Monte Mathews told us, "a friend gave me two pieces of advice: First, if you wear an expensive watch, you can wear anything else you want; second, when you have a lot of people over, buy a cheap ham. I already had the watch, but the cheap-ham tip threw me, and my friend did not elaborate. Not long afterward, at one of my first big-city parties, what should I see center-stage on the buffet table but a giant ham, bone intact, brown as could be. And what a ham! The mingled flavors of brown sugar and orange permeated every bite, and there was a faint hint of spice in the aftertaste. Guests hovered over it, and as the evening wore on, it became unrecognizable, thoroughly picked over. My hostess, flush with the triumph of having entertained so well, was effervescent, and I, feeling particularly close to her that night, offered to stay behind and help clean up. As she washed and I dried, I begged, 'Please talk to me about your ham.' Almost conspiratorially, she instructed me to buy the cheapest ham I could find, glaze the hell out of it, and cook it for a long time. 'You can feed 30 people for $6.99!' she exclaimed. I admit that I've never been able to find a bargain quite like that-but 20 years later I still swear by cheap ham and a great glaze. I trot one out several times a year and it's always the hit of the party."
Saveur Cooks Authentic American
By the editors of Saveur magazine
320 pages, full-color photographs
Publication Date: November 1998
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created April 1999
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