Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ham Steaks and Sweet Potatoes

A while back, sauntering through the grocery store I plopped a thick Niman Ranch ham steak in my cart, thinking one night that will make a good quick dinner. Tonight was the night. I wasn't actually late getting home or in a particular hurry but it just sounded good. Something unusual for us, a little more "midwestern covered dish" or "meat and three" than I usually go in for but it just sounded good.
First things first. I peeled and, on my mandolin, cut a combination of sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, and purple Japanese sweet potatoes in 1/4 slices. I layered those in a baking dish adding salt, pepper, (chili flakes on one layer) and little pats of butter between the layers. I poured milk over the potatoes (use cream if you have it -- the milk will separate in the oven and taste fine but not look so pretty). I covered the dish with tin foil and set it to bake for 45 minutes at 350ยบ. I uncovered the potatoes and let them bake or another half hour.
For the ham I mixed up a glaze based on a recipe by that ketchup loving French chef Jacques Pepin -- 2 TB of ketchup, 1 1/2 TB of brown sugar (I went a little heavier than Jacques), a drop of hot sauce to taste and a 1/4 tsp dry mustard. I brushed the glaze on the room temperature steak and put it under the broiler for about five minutes, to caramelize the glaze. Steamed buttered cauliflower sat on the side.
Cozy Americana suggested by the French.

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