Monday, March 13, 2017

Southern Ham Scramble with Jalapeño Home Fries











     A Great Tasting Ham Scramble!
     The Ham Scramble was a breakfast entrée that was once on the menu at nearly every classic diner in America.  The Ham Scramble was a customer favorite because it presented good dining value.  The Ham Scramble was also a favorite of restaurant managers, because it reduced food costs.    
     A classic Ham Scramble is made with 3 eggs and a good size portion of chopped ham.  Usually only broken eggs are used to make a Ham Scramble.  In a busy old fashioned breakfast restaurant kitchen, any eggs that break in the pan are scooped into a container, then saved for making Ham Scrambles.  Scrambling 3 partially cooked eggs with ham for a reduced price eliminates waste and keeps customer satisfaction high.     
     In modern times, cooks simply throw broken eggs in the garbage, but this brings food costs up and the increases waste cost is reflected on menu prices.  Managers now prefer to raise menu prices, rather than control waste costs with well founded managerial skills.  Overall, this lackadaisical managerial strategy results in inflated menu prices and lower customer flow numbers.  A breakfast restaurant depends on high volume sales and as can be seen at the majority of modern breakfast restaurants, sales are not as good as they should be.  This creates a vicious circle, because the first thing that a lazy manager cuts is labor costs when customer flow numbers are low.  Low pay cooks create more waste than well payed highly skilled cooks.  A breakfast restaurant that has high waste costs, high menu prices and low paid cooks is basically destined for business failure.  
     Once again, items like a Ham Scramble take some skill to make, they increase labor efficiency, reduce cost and increase dining value because of reduced prices.  Items like the Ham Scramble increase customer flow numbers and increase customer loyalty.  In an old fashioned diner restaurant, a Ham Scramble is a win-win proposition! 
     Local sourcing and sustainable food sourcing is more than just a restaurant marketing scheme.  Good restaurant chefs seek local crafted products, because the quality is higher.  For example, a local top shelf Virginia Ham is a far better choice than choosing the same old mass produced low quality ham that 95% of all breakfast restaurants sell.  Customers notice the improvement in quality, especially when it comes to ham and they will return for more.
     Dry Cure Virginia Ham is also called Southern Ham.  A good Dry Cure Virginia Ham easily compares to the finest European hams.  The large piece of Edward's Virginia Ham in the photos above is as good as it gets.  The salt cure is traditional and the ham is dry aged to perfection, just like Italian Prosciutto.  The result is a dense dry aged ham that has a rich strong flavor that lingers on the palate for quite some time.  When used in breakfast recipes, the high quality of this fine Virginia Ham is easily noticed.  Guests actually compliment a ham like this as being the best they have ever tasted.  Using a local sourced product like Edward's Virginia Ham will bring an old fashioned Ham Scramble up to a new high quality standard! 
     Today's recipe photo example started as a simple 2 Eggs Over Easy Breakfast Entrée.  The yolks broke on the eggs when they were flipped, because the eggs were too fresh.  Eggs that are aged for 3 days to 2 weeks are much easier to flip, because the excess moisture in the egg whites evaporates.  
      Instead of settling for broken eggs for breakfast, I remembered what the good old Ham Scramble theme was all about.  I placed the partially cooked 2 broken eggs in a mixing bowl and added 1 more egg, then I set about making a classic Ham Scramble just like back in the good old days.  The only ham in my kitchen was an Edwards Virginia Ham, which was a gift sent by relatives in North Carolina.  My only thought was that this Ham Scramble was going to be the best one that I ever made and I was correct!  A Southern Ham Scramble is the cream of the crop!  
     In a restaurant, a Southern Ham Scramble definitely is still a good cost cutting menu item, even though Dry Cure Virginia Ham commands a slightly higher price.  It is the quality that counts and customers will not balk at a slightly higher price if the quality is there.  The flavor does all the talking and a Southern Ham Scramble will give guests plenty to talk about! 

     Jalapeño Home Fries:
     This recipe yields 1 portion. 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 3/4 cup of peeled russet potato that is cut into 1/4" thick bit size pieces.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the potatoes are a little more than halfway cooked and golden highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped Bermuda Onion.
     Add 1 small green jalapeño pepper that is cut into 3/16" thick slices.
     Sauté and stir till the potatoes are fully cooked and the vegetables are tender.  (Try not to brown the onions and jalapeños.)
     Keep the Jalapeño Home Fries warm over very low heat.  
      
     Southern Ham Scramble with Jalapeño Home Fries:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Broken Over-Easy Eggs are perfect for making a Ham Scramble, so save them if you got them!
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of hand torn bite size Dry Cure Virginia Ham chunks.  (About 3 1/2 ounces.)
     Sauté till the ham heats and a few golden highlights appear. 
     Step 2:  Add 3 large eggs.
     Immediately use a rubber spatula to vigorously scramble the eggs with the ham.
     Scramble and toss till the eggs are thoroughly mixed and fully cooked. 
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mound the Southern Ham Scramble on the front half of a plate.
     Place the Jalapeño Home Fries on the back half of the plate.
     Garnish with a curly leaf parsley sprig.
     *Serve with cornbread, toast or biscuits on the side.

     Viola!  The best tasting Southern Ham Scramble ever!                  

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