The Easter Ham

Serve this classic on your Easter Sunday tables.

By Kathy Oberman


On Easter Sunday, ham often is elevated to the glorious centerpiece of the holiday table. For this spring day, it is never viewed as ordinary sliced deli meat, destined to be sandwiched between two slices of bread. Instead, it is the super-star of the day and deserves every kudo!

While many families serve baked ham with traditional pineapple rings and whole cloves, other home cooks are trying other preparations. From coast to coast, they happily debate the question: should I glaze the ham or serve it with sauce?

The hams you buy from the supermarket are fully cooked, but taste best when dressed up and baked until hot and juicy. Depending on the size of the ham, whether it has a bone or not, and how you decide to cook it, ham takes from 30 minutes to two hours to heat through so that its rich flavors develop.

Below are two fabulous ways to serve a ham. One is a traditional, slow-baked ham with a glaze. The other calls for slicing the ham into steaks, cooking them in a skillet in less than 30 minutes, and serving them with a luscious honey-mustard sauce.

Traditionally Glazed Ham
Choose a fully cooked, bone-in ham and figure on a quarter to half a pound per serving. Typically a six- to eight-pound serves 10 to 12 people.

Nothing beats a simple brown sugar glaze on a baked ham. The mixture of brown sugar, balsamic or cider vinegar and dried, ground mustard enriches baked ham. Add orange slices, and you have a holiday classic your family will love.

Put the ham in a shallow roasting pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and bake at 325°F. for one to two hours, depending on the size of the ham, or until an instant-read or meat thermomter registers 135°F.

With about 20 minutes left in the baking time, remove the ham from the oven and use a sharp knife to score the top with a diamond pattern. Insert a whole clove into the center of each diamond. Finally, slather the glaze on the ham with a pastry brush. Bake the ham, uncovered, until done.

Always allow ham to rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes before slicing it. During this short time, the meat re-absorbs the hot, flavorful juices. This means they will not drain from the meat onto the cutting board while you slice it but instead will be in the juicy slices.

Sauce Fit For A Ham
To serve ham with a sweet-and-sour sauce, combine honey and tangy mustard. These two ingredients are custom-made to complement salty, sweet ham. Best of all, because it’s served with ham steaks, the meal is ready in 30 minutes!

Slice boneless ham into one-inch-thick slices. Simmer these in a large, covered skillet with the honey-mustard mixture and a little water for roughly 15 minutes. Turn the ham slices once during cooking. Remove the steaks from the skillet when they are heated through and set aside, covered with foil to keep warm.

To make the sauce, add sour cream to the skillet. Stir for about a minute or until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Serve the honey-mustard sauce with the ham, sprinkled with sliced green onions. (For a lighter version of the sauce, use fat-free sour cream.)

The rest of the meal can be rounded out with steamed spring asparagus, new potatoes or rice, a fresh green salad, and for dessert? Try our light, refreshing Lemon-Raspberry Yellow Cake.

Happy Easter!