Breakfast in a Hurry: Ham, Egg + Cheese Frittata

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I decided I needed a very quick but very satisfying breakfast for busy weekday mornings.  I have a few others up my sleeve I'll be posting in the next few weeks.  This was one of them.  I make a pan of these Sunday night, cut it into squares and then monday morning eat a square on a piece of seedy, sprouted whole grain bread.  It's delicious and the protein holds me over til lunch.  

I call these egg squares, but it's a frittata with ham, leeks and cheese.  

4-6 servings.

Ham + Cheese Egg Squares

1 leek, white + light green parts, halved, thinly sliced

4 oz sliced ham, chopped

2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

5 cage free eggs

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Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 x 8" pan.  Set it aside.  

In a small saute pan, heat a oil over medium heat.  Add leeks.  Cook until soft.  Remove from heat and toss with chopped ham.  Spread ham and leek mix over the bottom of the prepared pan.  Sprinkle evenly with grated cheese.  

Crack eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper.  Whisk until yolks and whites are well combined.  Pour over cheese, ham and leeks.  Arrange ingredients under the eggs, maybe pressing of stirring if needed.  Place in oven and bake 20 minutes, eggs should be just set.   

Remove from oven.  Cut into squares.  I like to cut out a bread sized square, put in on a piece of multigrain toast.  And eat it. 

Ham Wrapped Asparagus

Have any of that easter ham left?  Perfect.  Serve these with a poached or fried egg for breakfast or alone as a party snack.

Serving size is up to you.  This recipe is easily changed as you need one thin slice of ham for each asparagus spear.  

Ham Wrapped Asparagus Spears 

12 spears asparagus, trimmed

12 thin slices of ham, (1/2 lb at the deli counter will do it)

Lightly oil a large skillet, set over medium heat.  Wrap each asparagus spear with one thin slice of ham.  Place in skillet.  Cook 2 minutes on each side, turing frequently to avoid burning the ham.  Total cooking time should be at least 8 minutes, 10 for a  more tender spear.  

Serve with a poached egg. 

To poach an egg:  Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt and a splash of white vinegar.  Reduce heat to just below a simmer - 200 degrees.  Crack egg into a small bowl.  

Give the water a couple stirs to establish a current.  Carefully, slip the egg into the 200 degree water.  Leave it alone for 4 minutes.  (3 minutes for a gooey egg) Remove egg from water with a slotted spoon.  Transfer to paper towel or asparagus spears.

Split Pea + Ham Soup

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Perfect for winter.  Make this on a cold day and you'll realize the merits of super chilly weather.  I used yellow and green split peas, but using only green will give you the color you're used to seeing.  

Serves 6.

Split Pea + Ham Soup

splash oil (olive, canola, grapeseed..)

1 yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups dried split green peas

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 - 1 1/2 lbs smoked ham hocks

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried ground fennel

8 cups vegetable stock

1 idaho potato, peeled, chopped

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In a large pot, heat a splash of oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes until vegetables are glossy and onions are clear.  Add peas, thyme, ham hocks, cumin and fennel.  Cook 1 minute more.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.  Add potatoes.  Cook 30 minutes more.  Remove ham hocks from soup, cut meat off and chop.  Stick immersion blender into soup and blend for a couple seconds or place 2 cups of soup into a blender and blend.  Return blended soup to pot.  Soup will now be thicker.  Add meat back to the soup discarding bones, fat and whatever.  

 

Ham + Gruyere French Toast

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I really want to brag about these, but I won't.  Brioche is first choice bead for this but challah would work too.  (I did my shopping late, couldn't find brioche anywhere and didn't want to search anymore, so I ended up making a giant loaf using Mark Bittman's recipe from his book, How To Cook Everything.)  Serve with a bit of maple syrup.  Makes about 5 servings.  

Ham + Cheese French Toast

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 loaf of brioche bread

about 5 oz ham, sliced

about 3 oz gruyere cheese, grated

1 tablespoon butter

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and milk together to combine.  set aside.

Slice bread in slices almost 1 inch thick.  Carefully slice these slices in half, leaving on edge un-sliced.  (like a book)  Fill each one with a sprinkle of cheese, then 1 slice of ham and then a pinch more cheese.  (so there's cheese on both sides of the ham.)

Heat skillet on medium high heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Dip each ham stuffed slice in egg mix and flip to coat other side.  Transfer to hot skillet and cook each side about 3 minutes.  Work in batches, using the other 1/2 tablespoon of butter, if needed.