A Hamburger Today

Balsamic-Glazed Ham With Basil English Peas


[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Ham tends to get relegated to a once-annual meal. In my mind, there's no reason it should. It's an inexpensive way to feed a crowd, and the leftovers work wonderfully in an array of recipes, morning, noon and night.

I bypass traditional cloying preparations, opting instead for an acidic and peppery balsamic, mustard, and apple jelly glaze. Give the ham enough time to cook in the oven before applying it. If you glaze the meat to soon, the sugar will caramelize prematurely and the meat will potentially burn. Tenting the meat with foil throughout cooking helps protect it while allowing you to achieve the perfect sheen.

As for the peas, do use fresh the English variety whenever possible. They're sweet and hold their texture better than frozen ones. If you do use frozen peas, simply omit the stock and sauté them directly in olive oil.

Note: Feel free to substitute ham shank for spiral-cut ham. Just be sure to score it in a diamond pattern before placing it in the oven to cook.

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

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