March 7, 2006

It was Ham City and I was the Mayor

«filed under thank-god-that’s-over-with»
After taking the leg of ham with me on the train to eastern Long Island, I finished dealing with it by cutting steaks (15 total) and chopping the rest to bits (6 cups). My stepmother and I had a disagreement over what exactly the ham was; she was convinced that it was prosciutto, and as such shouldn’t be made into pea soup (or cut into steaks).

After an early surrender, I agreed to take it to the local pork store (one of the best things about the North) and get it identified. If you can imagine me asking some macho Italian guy to identify my ham, you can see why I wasn’t excited. I brought the leg of meat into the shop and a short, ancient Italian guy said that it was, get ready for it, Virginia ham.

Scotto’s, the pork store, is a place of wonder. Think deli, except full of delicious Italian things. Cookies, and cakes, and meats, and prepared foods, and pastas, and cheeses, oh the cheeses. (the cheesecake, however, has fennel in it and tastes completely awful)

My stepmother still had a hard time believing this and kept eating raw, salty, fatty bits of it. After I finish editing the recipe I’ll post it. The smokiness of the ham fit really well with the soup, though the effort wasn’t entirely worth it.

The key to Smithfield hams: soak the steaks in water before you eat them – from 3 to 24 hours. If you don’t they’re disgustingly salty. Unpalatable.

Something like 5 quarts of split pea soup

And eggs bennedict

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