More than any other meat, pork is an amiable partner with fruit. Chops with apples. Roast pork with dried fruit stuffing. Pork tenderloin with mango salsa.
And then there's ham, the anchor of many Easter brunches and dinners. Brush the cured meat with a fruity glaze and you've added your spin to a fully cooked ham.
These days, most people buy ham cooked, sometimes even spiral-sliced, and all it needs is a couple of hours or more, depending on the size, in a 325-degree oven to heat through. Wrap the ham in foil first to keep it from drying out, then peel it back with 30 minutes to go and paint it with your homemade glaze. The ham should cook uncovered at this point to allow the sugar in the fruit to caramelize and create a shiny lacquer.
It's simpler than you might think. Thin a jar of apricot (or peach, strawberry or blackberry) preserves with a few tablespoons of bourbon, rum or even corresponding fruit nectar and you've got a glaze. Make sure the ham you buy doesn't already have a glaze on it.
The following combinations will get you started and make enough glaze for a ham up to 10 pounds. But don't stop here. Let your imagination run wild and think about the flavors that you like on a ham sandwich: cranberry, honey, horseradish, mustard, balsamic, caramelized anything. The winning combination of sweet and salty is realized in fruit and ham.
To make glazes, whisk ingredients together and brush mixture on ham in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Garnish with zest or slices of fruit that's in the glaze.
1. Apple-Honey Glaze: 1/2 cup honey and 2 tablespoons thawed apple-juice concentrate.
2. Strawberry Glaze: 1/2 cup strawberry preserves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, teaspoon each cinnamon and ground cloves.
3. Orange-Bourbon Glaze: 1/2 cup orange marmalade and 2 tablespoons bourbon.
4. Curried Mango Glaze: 1/2 cup mango chutney, 2 tablespoons thawed orange-juice concentrate and 1 teaspoon curry powder.
5. Peach-Mustard Glaze: 1 (10-ounce jar) peach preserves, 1-1/2 tablespoons Creole mustard, spicy mustard or Dijon, 2 tablespoons peach liqueur (Schnapps), 2 tablespoons lemon juice, dash cinnamon.
6. Pineapple-Rum Glaze: 1/2 cup pineapple jam and 2 tablespoons dark rum.
Sources: "Ham: An Obsession With the Hindquarter" by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010), About.com, Recipezaar.com.