Hammer Time

A ham-studded Chinese takeout staple
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Justin Brunson, the chef at Old Major in Denver, is passionate about pork. So much so that he features it in nearly every section of the menu. It's spun into pork butter, piled onto a pita for a gyro, tiled across a charcuterie plate, and tossed into fried rice, a nod to Brunson's favorite Chinese takeout dish. At Old Major, he studs day-old rice with thick shreds of succulent pan-seared ham, along with peas and a wallop of finely chopped fresh ginger. Each serving of this full-flavored fried rice is then topped with a fried egg. You may never need to call your local Chinese restaurant again.

Ham Fried Rice

Recipe adapted from Justin Brunson, Old Major, Denver, CO

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


1 cup smoked ham from a 1-inch-thick piece, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

4 cups cooked long-grain white rice, chilled

One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and finely chopped

4 large shallots, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

1 cup fresh peas

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided

6 large eggs

Kosher salt


1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Transfer the ham to a plate.

2. Set the same skillet over high heat. Once the pan is very hot, after about 30 seconds, add the sesame oil, rice, ginger and shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots become soft and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in the carrots, peas, oyster sauce and ham and cook until the carrots are al dente, about 5 minutes. Divide the rice among 6 bowls.

3. To a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, add ½ tablespoon of the butter. Once the butter melts, crack 3 eggs into the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the whites are cooked through and the yolk is still soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer each egg to a bowl of fried rice. Repeat with the remaining butter and eggs, sprinkle a pinch of salt over each bowl and serve.

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