Ham and eggs is a combo we all know, but ham and cauliflower? Equally delicious, and in fact, ham’s a
natural with the whole huge cabbage family and that includes cauliflower, which Mark Twain once called “a cabbage with a college education.” Note: Use cooked ready-to-eat country ham here—a good cured and smoked ham like the Smithfield or Edwards hams of Virginia. If unavailable, substitute thickly sliced prosciutto or a domestic serrano, better than mass-produced pink packing house hams, most of which have been injected with water or brine. Note: I processor-chop the ham—quick and easy though the ham must be cut into 1-inch chunks before it goes into the machine. For 2⁄3 cup coarsely ground or chopped ham, you’ll need about 6 ounces if the ham has a thick outer covering of fat, which should be removed. If not, 4 ounces will do. Tip: Newsom’s of Kentucky sells ground cooked country ham.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 1 large cauliflower (about 3 pounds), trimmed and divided into florets about 1½ inches across
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream blended with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 cup firmly packed sour cream
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2⁄3 cup coarsely ground, trimmed, cooked country ham
- 3⁄4 cup fine dry bread crumbs tossed with 2 tablespoons each freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and melted unsalted butter (Topping)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spritz a 13 × 9 × 2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Parboil cauliflower florets 5 to 8 minutes in just enough lightly salted boiling water to cover until crisp-tender. Drain well and arrange in single layer in baking dish.
- Beat egg yolks well with heavy cream mixture, sour cream, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Add ham, mix until evenly distributed, and spoon over cauliflower, again making sure ham is well distributed. Scatter Topping evenly over all.
- Slide onto middle oven shelf and bake uncovered until bubbling and tipped with brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Serve at once as the centerpiece of a light lunch or supper or, if you prefer, as an accompaniment to roast chicken, turkey, or pork.