Ham Croquettas

If you’re like me, you have a lot of leftover ham from Easter. I’m not a big ham fan (say that three times fast) but leftover ham does come in handy for many dishes. I got a spiral cut Smithfield Ham from the grocery store, but I do think Honeybaked Hams are better in terms of quality and taste.

Easter Dinner with Ham, Mac ‘N Cheese and Sliced Tomatoes.

The first thing you can do with leftover ham, is of course, ham sandwiches. While they are perfectly fine as a plain ham sandwich or on a hot biscuit, you can also think outside the box and make a Cuban with Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread. The only thing missing is the Roast Pork. Or try a Monte Cristo, with ham and Swiss cheese piled on a thick bread, which is dipped in egg and fried in butter. Add the traditional sliced turkey if you have it, otherwise, this is still a hearty sandwich and delicious served with a berry jam on the side.

I loved scrambled eggs with diced ham, but it’s also perfect in Omelettes or in a Breakfast Burrito, with sauteed onions, peppers and shredded cheese. If you’re into that kind of thing (some think it sacrilegious) you could make a Hawaiian Pizza with ham, pineapple and mozzarella cheese. Ham Salad is another option, made with hard boiled eggs (might have some of those leftover), mayo, relish, onion and mustard. Ham salad can also be served as a dip with crackers and veggies.

Oh Sam I am, oh Sam I am, eating eggs and ham.

Chef’s Salad is another option for a lunch or light dinner. Iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, celery, wedged tomatoes, quartered hard boiled eggs and turkey completes this salad, with French or Russian dressing served to dress it. Swiss cheese seems to be the most common denominator of cheeses served with ham, but Cheddar or Monterey Jack also works well.

I used some leftover ham last night in a Quiche, which was a twist on Quiche Lorraine. Instead of bacon and Swiss-like Gruyere Cheese, I used ham and Cheddar, with some sliced green onions thrown in for good measure. I served it with an arugula and tomato salad with a mustard vinaigrette. There’s an easy and adaptable quiche recipe I used from the Serve It Up! cookbook by Kimberly Tabor.

Pasta is a blank slate, so ham works perfectly in it. It’s great in Mac ‘N Cheese, but I turn to my old friend James Beard for other inspiration. He suggests using ham in a cold Orzo Salad and Spaghetti Carbonara, where prefers Smithfield ham to the traditional bacon. And how about this easiest of recipes?

Ham and Peas

Very simple. Pour a cup of heavy cream into a saucepan. Let it cook down and thicken slightly and add some peas and bits of ham. Pour over hot noodles and sprinkle on quite a lot of grated cheese.

From Beard on Pasta by James Beard.

The leftover ham bone is just dying to get used, as it’s full of flavor and shouldn’t be wasted. My favorite way to use it is in a Split Pea Soup, where you can also utilize any bits and pieces of ham leftover. I use the recipe in the Fannie Farmer cookbook. A ham bone also works well as a flavoring for other bean and green dishes.

Wash those peas before you make soup!

Croquettas are also an option for leftover ham, albeit a complicated one, but I cut out a recipe from the New York Times Food section for croqettas from Isla Canaria in Miami I made recently. Although labor-intensive, the recipe makes a lot and the croquettas can be frozen for future consumptions, if you don’t want to be a glutton.

Croquettas are made by grinding leftover ham in the food processor, then adding a bechamel sauce to it. After letting it sit in the fridge a couple hours, you cut the mixture into rectangles and shape it into cylinders, then freeze. Lastly, dip the cylinders into an egg wash and bread crumbs and freeze again. Finally, fry in hot oil and eat. with saltine crackers, lime wedges and hot sauce.

Making Bechamel Sauce, a primary ingredient in croquettas.

The good thing about leftover ham is there are endless ways to use it. These are just some ideas.

Ham held the same rating as the basic black dress. If you had ham in the meat house any situation could be faced.

Edna Lewis

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Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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