Hannah Palmer Egan
Honey-drizzled ham-and-potato tostada — with optional egg
The first time I cooked Easter dinner, I was newly married and barely 24 years old. I brought home a hulking ham from the butcher and set out to roast it one April morning. We may have had a few guests — another couple, a cousin, maybe a neighbor or two — but it was a big piece of meat and we knew we'd have lots of leftovers.
I cracked open my well-loved Joy of Cooking
and flipped to the page about hams. "Eternity," it began, "is two people and a ham." My husband and I had a good chuckle. Then, as the book foretold, we ate ham for weeks — with eggs and in soups, in burritos and tacos and casseroles and plain, with potatoes or pasta or whatever else.
Over the years, our memories buffed that newlywed ham to a mythic sheen. We still laugh about it, and I still over-portion at holidays, particularly at Easter, with the ham. The thing with ham is that it's cured, so it keeps well. And it's good with just about everything.
This Easter, I had a picnic-size leg (my mom and I split a whole ham, so I had two smaller roasts, rather than one huge one), but we're still working on finishing it. (See last week's post, with the baked eggs and ham
Today, that meant ham-and-potato tostadas, made with beautiful Vermont corn tortillas from All Souls Tortilleria
in Waitsfield, ham from last fall's pig, waning potatoes from 4 Corners Farm
in Newbury, blue cheese from Boucher Family Farm
in Highgate, and honey from Heavenly Honey Apiaries
in Monkton. And an egg from my egg lady at the Miller farm, which is a few miles from my house at the top of South Road in Bradford.
Breakfast doesn't get more local — or more delicious — than that.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup ham, in half-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup boiled potatoes, in half-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 corn tortilla
- 3 tablespoons honey
- One egg (optional)
*The USDA Food Safety and Inspection service recommends cooking eggs "Until yolk and white are firm." Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, eggs or unpasteurized milk may increase your risk of food-borne illness.
- Melt a thin pat of butter in a large skillet over medium flame. Add ham and brown, stirring occasionally, 7-10 minutes. If a caramelized film forms on the pan, add 1/4 cup of water to deglaze, and stir ham around to coat. Repeat as necessary. When ham begins to crisp, move it to the periphery of the pan and turn as needed so it gets toasty but doesn't burn.
- If you're adding the egg, boil a pot of water. When it's rolling, drop in an egg. After exactly six minutes, remove the egg and plunge into cool water for a very soft yolk. If you prefer a firmer yolk, leave in open air until the other ingredients are ready.*
- While the egg is cooking, add the potatoes (and more butter) to the skillet. Fry until crisp, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Move to the edge of the pan with the ham.
- If the pan is dry, add another pat of butter, then the tortilla. Heat 2-3 minutes, until the corn begins to firm up, then flip and repeat. Turn once more and pile the potatoes and ham in the middle. Crumble blue cheese over top, cover and heat another 2-3 minutes until the tortilla gets nice and crunchy and the cheese softens.
- Drizzle with honey. If using egg, peel it carefully, place on top and break the yolk for a rich and oozy delight!