Tuesday: The Fried Lunchmeat Experiment (It’s Really Good!)

The description of the Swedish Ham ($8.99/lb) at Agata & Valentina reads as follows: “This ham has more sweet fat strips throughout making it very lush, moist and buttery with a light, delicate hint of smoke.”

Yes. I’ve been more than a little obsessed. I’ve made broiled ham-and-blue-cheese sandwiches, I’ve diced it to add to scrambled eggs. And now it’s going into the brussels sprouts — you could say this dish is a riff on that classic, brussels sprouts and pancetta, only, with a lot more ham (that’s not pancetta) and a few extra goodies. The results? Spectacular. I happily ate this for several meals.

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Brussels Sprouts and Fried Deli Ham

Ingredients:

1 lb. brussels sprouts, washed, bottoms trimmed and cut into halves
1/3 lb. ultra thin-sliced deli counter ham, preferably fatty, chopped into strips (more or less)
1 small red onion (1/4 cup? more?), roughly chopped
blue cheese crumbles to taste
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

You’ll need a deeper pan and a medium-sized frying pan.

1. Cook the brussels sprouts in the deeper pan over medium heat (generously add olive oil). Stir regularly; what you’re looking for is for the vegetables to begin to soften and brown up a bit, but it’s going to take some time to get them all evenly cooked. be patient. (Total: 7-10 minutes?)

2. In the frying pan, sautee the red onion over medium-to-low heat, until it browns and softens. Turn out onto a spare surface.

3. Next, in the frying pan (no need to clean), dump the ham in and turn the heat up to medium-high. At this point you should still be agitating the brussels sprouts so they all brown evenly. The ham is going to brown, then crackle, then even smoke a bit — it’s the result of cooking a fatty protein on a hot surface, but the meat will actually crisp nicely. Keep pushing it.

4. Once the brussels sprouts are done, mix in the red onions and the ham into the deeper pot; plate.

5. Garnish each serving with a little crumble of blue cheese (it will get a little melty). Scarf.

Servings: 4

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