CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Ham-tastic Sandwiches

Easter wouldn’t be Easter without baked ham. It’s a mouth-watering tradition that’s enjoyed by many families, especially since its perfect for a large gathering.

We’re planning on having ham this coming Sunday. It was a no-brainer, since our neighborhood supermarket has a great deal on them this week. And we’re also having my 95-year-old Uncle Curt join us.

Uncle Curt loves ham, and that’s good, since we have an 8-pounder. I told him he could take some ham and the bone home to make some split pea soup, one of his favorite pastimes.

Of course, we’ll still will havel plenty of leftover ham, some of which I hope to combine with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, rutabaga and onion for a New England-Style boiled dinner.

But even with that, there will be plenty left for sandwiches, another favorite of mine. Here are a couple of recipes — a step up from plain old ham sandwiches with mayo or Miracle Whip — that I hope to try.

California Club Sandwich
6 slices ham (6 ounces)
4 slices seven-grain bread
2 slices Provolone cheese
4 leaves lettuce
2 tablespoons honey mustard
Toast the seven-grain bread; spread one side of each slice with honey mustard. Layer ham on two slices of bread. Top with provolone cheese and lettuce leaves. Add remaining bread; cut into quarters and serve.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 360 calories, 28 grams protein, 16 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 1,820 milligrams sodium: 60 milligrams cholesterol, 27 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber.

Ham Panini with Provolone and Caramelized Onions
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 16-ounce French baguette or other favorite bread
Mixed field greens
½ cup your favorite condiment such as Dijon mustard
½ pound thinly sliced leftover baked ham
4 slices provolone cheese (about ½ ounce each)
1 avocado, cut in half, pitted and sliced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt and garlic seasoning or favorite seasoning
Have ready a panini maker, grill pan or tabletop grill.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook until just beginning to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and continue cooking until onions are completely softened. Set aside.
Cut the bread into 4 even pieces. Spread 1 tablespoon of your favorite condiment on each piece of bread. Top with some field greens, ham slices and 1 slice of cheese for each sandwich. Top with caramelized onions and avocado slices. Top with bread. Brush the bread all over with some olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt and garlic seasoning. Place on the panini maker or tabletop grill and press down. Cook until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Remove and serve.
Yield: Serves: 4 (large sandwiches).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 657 calories (35 percent from fat ), 26 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 76 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 891 milligrams sodium, 63 milligrams cholesterol, 136 milligrams calcium, 6 grams fiber.

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