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Celebrating Southern (requires country ham)

December 25, 2009

Nothing says “southern”  like country ham and there’s nothing like that salty, meaty bite to remind you that you’re celebrating.  Not that country ham is only for special occasions … heck, its very existence is based on everyday use, but in the south, country ham sits high on a pedestal of esteemed prestige.  For centuries, country ham has been a staple at weddings, funerals, garden parties, junior league meetings, winter balls, and it’s a well-known fact that Andrew Jackson served country ham and rolls at most every gathering at his home, The Hermitage and at The White House.  The tradition continues and when you’re face-to-face with that deep red deliciousness, even if you’re just at home in your own kitchen, you feel like your participating in something just a little bit special.

I must have country ham.

I must fry it.

   

I must have it with eggs.  

    

Preferably, in an omelet with creamy fontina cheese and green onions.

   

 

Everybody has their own method for omelet making.  I’m ok with that.  I don’t add anything but a little salt and some fresh ground pepper to the eggs (no water or milk) and I prepare the (non-stick) pan with a little butter.  I shake the eggs around while they are cooking over low-medium heat, to keep the liquid eggs moving in under the cooked eggs.  You can also use a spatula or fork to pull back the edges and let the liquid run under the edges.  I like the shaking method because it renders a fluffier omelet, not just a tough “egg wrapper”.  When the egg is all but cooked, I scrape out the uncooked bits with a spoon (I don’t like raw egg one bit).  Cover one side with the yummy fillings and flip the empty side over.  Now – cover the pan with a lid and remove from the heat for a minute or two.  This will melt the cheese without causing the egg to burn. 

If you really want to jazz it up, or if you really just need to get rid of some spinach, reserve a little of the ham and the drippings from the pan.  After you slide the omelet on the plate, throw the drippings and the ham back into the skillet with a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach.  Saute it for just a minute or so, until it gets shiny and very, very green.  Serve the warm, wilted spinach over the eggs.  Heavenly.

Country ham is a little tougher than its upper crust cousin, prosciutto, but is still absolutely delicious.  I served it at my wedding … and at my mother’s funeral.  I served it to my family yesterday, on Christmas Eve, in some of those amazing little omelets.  It’s one of those foods that takes you places … something akin to catching a whiff of your mother’s perfume while passing through a department store.  It slows your pace and gives you a warm feeling inside. 

I guess you could just say that it tastes like “home” … and to me that’s something worth celebrating … every day.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tanya permalink
    December 26, 2009 6:07 pm

    Can I just say one word….yum-o! You rock and your pictures look outstanding.

  2. December 30, 2009 5:39 pm

    Your pictures are just beautiful. They make me want to run out and buy some country ham and cook up an omelet. I wonder if I can find country ham here in Colorado? I will have to check my local stores and see. Thank you for celebrating the simple, finer things in life.

  3. Cathy permalink
    December 30, 2009 8:32 pm

    After reading your blog, I think I’ll have to make omelets tomorrow morning. Mmmm…

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