I've been rummaging through the chest freezer we have in our basement. It is mainly used for storing the delicious bounty of our summer's harvest -- sauce from the heirloom tomatoes we grew from seed, diced rhubarb from the monster plants I need to divide this spring and share with friends, tomato risotto, and basil pesto. My goal during the upcoming weeks is to go through the freezer to see exactly what I've got and make room for meals we can defrost and microwave during our upcoming kitchen renovation.
I just found two large freezer bags full of leftover Christmas ham. One dish I always enjoy eating when we have an over-abundance of ham is Scalloped Potatoes and Ham. Over the years I've used low-fat and high-fat dairy products when making this, and have settled on Half & Half, or light cream, as my first choice. But I can be easily swayed in that choice. If I see a carton of heavy cream peeking out at me in my fridge, I am likely to pour a little of that into the mix. Face it... FAT tastes good !
I am giving approximations in the recipe below. It's important that the potatoes are sliced as thinly as possible and my feeling is, the more garlic, the better... always.
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SCALLOPED POTATOES and HAM
• 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
• 1/2 to 3/4 pound sliced or cubed ham
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 onion, thinly sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup, more or less, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 cups, and possibly more, Half & Half (light cream)
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
2. Butter a baking dish and place a layer of the thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle the potatoes with some of the salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. In a bowl, combine the onions with the minced garlic and scatter 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the potatoes, then layer some of the ham. All of the amounts are approximations and you can add more or less to your liking. Continue to layer, ending with the potatoes and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Pour the Half & Half into the dish so that it can just be seen between the top slices of the potatoes.
3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is browned.