I was returning home after a somewhat dispiriting day, when I saw a sign outside of a tiny grocery in Robert, Louisiana: spiral ham 99 cents a pound.
Even though I am under strict orders not to buy any more food (due to over-full freezer and fridge), READER, I BOUGHT ONE. I seldom eat ham: my mother never cooked it and I cook perhaps one a year. Mostly I'm interested in the bone, from which yummy red beans and rice can be made.
Here is my favorite recipe, actually my favorite preface to a recipe. It is from Saveur Cooks American and is a recipe offered by Monte Williams, an ad executive in Manhattan.
Here is the preface. Monte Williams has used this ham as a party staple ever since, as a young arrival in town, he first had it at a glamorous New York party.
Watching the other guests devour the glazed, glistening hunk of pork, Mr. Williams begged his hostess for the recipe.
Buy the cheapest ham possible. glaze the hell out of it and cook it for a long time.
And the Saveur editors caution: So don't waste your money on a fine aged ham; use, as we do, a plain old bone-in prepackaged supermarket ham.
OK. Here is the recipe from the Saveur site. Strangely, Monte Williams has morphed into Monte Matthews. Whatever.
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 tbsp. whole cloves
1. Preheat oven to 300°. Trim tough outer skin and excess fat from ham. Place ham, meat side down, in a large roasting pan and score, making crosshatch incisions with a sharp knife. Roast for 2 hours.
2. Remove ham from oven and increase heat to 350°. For glaze, combine orange marmalade, mustard, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stud ham with whole cloves (stick one clove at the intersection of each crosshatch), then brush with glaze and return to oven.
3. Cook ham another 1 1/2 hours, brushing with glaze 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.