December 11, 2010

Country Ham ...Past and Present

The roots of this sandwich go back to my childhood in Kentucky.  My father would purchase raw hams from a local farmer and come back to my grandmother's where the curing process would begin in the smokehouse that stood between her house and her beautiful garden.  These hams hung for at least a year but the prize hams hung at least 2 years.  No fast cure here! 

Anyway, the hams would eventually find their way into my mother's kitchen where she would get out the big electric roaster and boil them for hours before removing and topping with brown sugar, cornmeal, vinegar crust and baking in the oven to finish.  Now these Baked Country Hams were special, very special ....oh, how I would love to have one of Daddy's hams right now....nothing like it.  We ate it thinly sliced as a side or on sandwiches of rye bread with swiss cheese and Durkee's Famous Sauce.....which brings me to the reason for this post.

I still enjoy the old version but have tweeked it a bit.  I now like to buy the mini rye bread squares and grill the sandwich.  They freeze beautifully (even after grilling) and are perfect to have on hand.  I use  them with soups and salads all winter long....great quick lunch or dinner.  But best of all,  I like to cut them on the diagonal,  nothing fancy here,  and use them as an hors d'oeuvre for cocktail parties.  Note that I now use Comt√© cheese (least expensive place to buy is Costco...actually same brand I buy in France)  but you can substitute Swiss or Emmenthaler...just not as much flavor.  However, there is no substitute for the Durkee' is just the jar will do 2 loaves of the mini you see we don't spread too much.   And since we don't have my Daddy's ham, you can find an Edward's Petite Ham, fully cooked and boned, at Fresh Markets (they will slice) as well as online

If you have frozen your sandwiches, reheat until crispy again....I do that in my oven using convection but it also works on regular bake.  I love popping a couple in my new Breville toaster oven that oven....but that's another post.


  1. I guess I forgot to say that I brush them with butter before grilling...OF COURSE I Do ....this is me talking!

  2. Just popping in to say nice site.

  3. I love stories about how people used to do things years ago food-wise. There is a certain satisfaction in home made that can never be achieved any other way.