LUCY BURDETTE: Key West is such a fun town--you never know what wacky event will turn up. On New Year's Eve day they hold their annual Dachshund parade, otherwise known as the Wiener Wonderland! I couldn't miss that, even with company coming for dinner. So I pulled out my simple but delicious recipe for baked ham.
Yes, it's easier to order a spiral ham from the deli, but I promise you this ham is more tasty than most and not that much trouble either. It's ideal for a holiday centerpiece or even part of a party buffet--a Superbowl party would be a perfect venue.
*1 semi-boneless ham, 4 to 6 pounds
*generous handful of whole cloves
*several tablespoons of smooth Dijon mustard (I cannot swear to the results if you use the bright orange stuff that goes on hot dogs--see photo at top!)
*about 3/4 cup brown sugar
*1 6 oz can pineapple chunks in juice
*1/2 jar marmalade (I used orange, but peach would be nice too)
Remove the casing from the ham and nestle it into a large baking pan. Score the fat/skin covering into artistic diamonds with a sharp knife. Push whole cloves into the diamond intersections so the ham is generously studded with cloves.
Now spoon some mustard into a small bowl and with a knife or spatula, frost the studded ham with mustard, taking care not to dislodge your cloves. Next pat a layer of brown sugar all over, creating a mustard/sugar paste.
Now bake the ham for half an hour in an oven preheated to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, combine the pineapple in its juice and the marmalade in a small pan and heat on low until the marmalade dissolves.
Then begin to baste the ham every 15 to 30 minutes with the pineapple mixture. (If you like, you could add a splash of rum to the pineapple, but I like it fine without.) Bake it for about an hour longer, then slice and serve--maybe with your favorite scalloped potatoes or even potato salad.
There will be lots of leftovers (unless you've invited the whole neighborhood!), so you'll be well-positioned for split pea soup, ham and cheese omelets, or a platter of Cuban sandwiches!
Did you know that the third Key West food critic mystery, TOPPED CHEF, is available for pre-order now?
And please, while your ham is baking, don't forget to "like" Lucy on Facebook and follow her on twitter!