Entertaining

Ham-mer Time

A lighter ham for Easter

Did you know that ham is actually an acronym for "Heavenly Angel's Meat"?

Actually, it isn't. But maybe it should be.

Because ham is deliciously, infinitely adaptable.

Country ham with red-eye gravy. Jellied jambon persillé. Acorn-fed Iberian hams sliced as thin as paper.

Tell us about some new kind of ham and we'll like that, too.

So when Food Editor Andy Baraghani started talking about a ham for Easter that would be lighter and less sweet than the standard clove-studded, sweet-glazed holiday feast variety, we were ready to listen.

And when he gently braised and basted a bone-in smoked ham in Muscadet wine with onions, carrots and a bit of garlic, the good smells coming from the Test Kitchen spoke for themselves (see the recipe).

On the plate, the ham is a lovely sight: pale pink slices served with an herb-tinted sauce of crème fraîche mixed with capers, thyme, parsley and lemon zest.

It's a bit like a traditional English gammon with green sauce, though here the sauce gets a nice bright kick from both Dijon and whole-grain mustards.

Andy's tips for elevating your Easter ham game: Take the meat out of the fridge early to allow for even cooking. Vigilant basting will keep the ham from getting dry and leathery. Reduce the braising liquid when you're done cooking, add a little butter and paint each slice with a bit of the pan sauce just before serving.

Our advice: Listen to Andy.

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