Ham-and-Cheese Strata

June 24, 2007

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Ham-and-Swiss sandwiches for breakfast? You bet! Especially when you bake them like this! You can put together the sandwich part the night before, seal it with plastic wrap, and set it in the fridge. When morning comes, all you have to do is pour on the eggs and cream and pop it in the oven. Not exactly like having someone else do breakfast for you—but it’s close. You know, I’ve been thinking … my next boyfriend had better be a cook! SAM

14 (1/2-inch) slices Italian bread
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pound honey-baked ham, roughly chopped
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
Freshly ground white pepper to taste

Spread one side of the bread with mustard. Arrange half the slices, overlapping, mustard side up, in the bottom of a lightly greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with ham, tomato, cheese, and onions. Place the remaining bread slices on top, mustard side down. Combine the eggs, half-and-half, paprika, and pepper and pour evenly over the bread. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and puffy. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings.


Ham Salad

June 1, 2007

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Instead of ham biscuits one hot, summer morning, serve ham salad biscuits and watch everyone’s eyes light up. Nothing could be easier—or better—than this bare-bones recipe. I loved it at first bite. The only slightly tricky part is grinding the ham. The simplest solution is to make friends with your butcher. Baring that, you can use your mixer’s grinder attachment, in which case you should grind the olives along with the ham. Or mince the ham in a food processor. Be careful, though, not to turn it into baby food mush. You want separate little crunches of meat and olive. And speaking of biscuits, I know I promised but now I’m really promising: Buttermilk Biscuits ASAP. SAM

2 pounds cooked ham, ground
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained and finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the ham, olives, mayonnaise, and pepper. Cover and chill. Make sandwiches or serve on biscuits or as a summer salad.
Makes 3 cups or 6 servings.