Ham is to Easter what turkey is to Thanksgiving. It’s a bold statement, but it is oh so true. Ham is affordable, versatile, and the perfect centerpiece of a spread for entertaining. For breakfast, brunch, or dinner, from omelets to crepes to appetizers, the spring holiday is celebrated best with ham.
Here are my favorite ways to incorporate ham into my family’s Easter menu:
1. Deviled Eggs
As far as my husband is concerned, the party doesn’t start until the deviled eggs are served. Egg anything is essential on Easter Sunday especially, and deviled eggs are simply classic. They can be a little ho-hum, however, so I turn to ham to liven them up.
There is nothing better than ham fried crispy. I cube it and, in a nonstick sauté pan, I stir ¼-½ cup of diced ham into 2 tablespoons of hot oil, and cook until the ham starts to caramelize on the edges. I scoop the ham onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain and then I sprinkle it onto the eggs to serve the devilishness right away.
2. Wrapped Asparagus
Spring officially has sprung when the freshness of green starts popping up from the dirt. And Easter brunch officially begins when my ham-wrapped asparagus hits the table. It is deceptively simple and a full-fledged showstopper; it feels splurge-y and special at the same time.
I seek out thicker stalks of asparagus that will wrap easily and hold up in the oven, and thinly sliced prepackaged ham lunchmeat.
Snap one spear of asparagus and cut the others where that one broke. Then, drizzle all of the asparagus with olive oil and season with lemon zest and salt and pepper in a bowl. Halve the slices of ham and wrap each spear with a piece. Spread the asparagus in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender. I like to transfer the hot ham-wrapped spears to a festive platter and bring right to the table.
3. Tea Sandwiches
Two-bite stacks shaped with cookie cutters are my tasty gift to the kids specifically on Easter Sunday. We make the trays of tea sandwiches together, and I replenish them throughout the day. Long after our initial seating at brunch, chocolate-charged children still are running around and these make the perfect snack.
To make them fancy, we cut the crusts off the bread and the kids cut them into eggs or bunnies or little chicks. My daughters’ favorite filling is sliced ham with a crumble of lemon stilton cheese, but I also offer them options like chicken salad, sliced turkey, tomato, avocado, and some herbaceous mayo for smearing. They take ownership of their creations, as varied as the eggs we colored the week before, and proudly offer them up to the adults around them.
4. Whole Roast
Like the big bird at the Thanksgiving Day table, the whole, spiral-sliced ham is the star of our Easter brunch spread. Not only is it easy to prepare and delicious to eat, it can feed our army of friends and family. My favorite semi-homemade recipe for the whole ham starts with 2 parts apricot preserves and 1 part honey; I melt them together, spoon the sauce generously over the ham, and warm all of the above in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the slices starts to separate and each one is caramelized. Divine. And it’s great for sandwiches the next day too!
Very definitely, ham is a highlight of Easter and all its festivities. As a host and a guest, I love it crisped, wrapped, sliced, and stacked. It’s what I expect – and what we look forward to eating – all 40 days of the Lenten season.