A New Take on the Holiday Ham

Bon Appétit


November 19, 2012

The BA Gift Guide (#3 of 9)

Start with a world-class cured ham, add a sharp knife for easy slicing, and pretty soon your party will rival the most popular tapas bar in Spain.
1. Get a Leg Up
Serving a whole bone-in ham may seem ambitious, but trust us: You'll be a hero to your meat-eating friends--at least 30 of them! American country ham and prosciutto are great, but we're partial to the Spanish variety. (Fermín mountain-cured Serrano ham, 16-18 lb., $325; latienda.com)
2. Take a Stand
You'll need a proper wooden stand like this one to anchor the leg for slicing. In the event you have leftovers, store the ham in its holder in a cool, dry place for several weeks. Here's how: Cover ham with a kitchen towel or cheesecloth. Wipe off any mold with a cloth dipped in vegetable oil. (Swivel-grip jamón holder with knife, $199; latienda.com)
3. Slice it Right
Arm yourself with the right knife--and a little slicing know-how. The ideal blade is sharp, thin, and flexible. Unlike with prosciutto, you want to cut Spanish ham in small, rectangular pieces. (Arcos 9" professional ham-cutting knife, $49; hamlovers.com)
4. My Sherry, Amor
Ham and Sherry are made for each other. Forget the sweet stuff and open a bone-dry bottle that cuts through the salty richness of the pork fat. (Amontillado Seco "Sacromonte 15 Años" from Bodegas Valdivia, $29) Call in the Extras
"Take a tip from tapas bars and pair the ham with Spanish goodies like Manchego cheese and olives. It's all you need for an unforgettable centerpiece with minimal effort." --Chef Jose Garces, Amada, Philadelphia

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