We've got a new partnership with the recipe, equipment, and product testing gurus at America's Test Kitchen.
We've got a new partnership with the recipe, equipment, and product testing gurus at America's Test Kitchen. They'll be sharing some of their time-tested recipes and technical expertise with us weekly. Today, America's Test Kitchen demonstrates how super-crunchy Japanese panko dresses up a spectacular Spring centerpiece: baked ham.
When we want to dress up a ham, we usually turn to a sweet glaze. But for this recipe, we decided to try something a bit different: a crumb coating, which is a popular way to prepare ham in Sweden.
But we quickly discovered that this seemingly simple recipe wasn't as easy as just pressing some bread crumbs into the exterior of the ham. Our first tries resulted in dry meat, soggy crumbs, and a coating that didn't stay put once we started slicing. We had to figure out how to keep the ham moist, the crumbs dry, and the two components adhered to each other.
We started with the meat. We covered a sliced, room-temperature ham in an oven bag and baked it at a gentle 325 degrees. The room-temperature ham heats up faster, with less time to dry out; the low temperature cooks the ham gently while the bag traps steam, guaranteeing a humid environment that keeps the ham moist and reduces cooking time.
To prevent the bread crumbs from sogging out while in the oven, we applied them at the end of cooking. As the crumbs cook, they absorb moisture from the ham, so pressing them onto the ham at the tail end of cooking gave them enough time to brown, but not enough time to get soggy. Super-crunchy Japanese-style bread crumbs stayed crispier than homemade or other dried crumbs. And to keep the crumbs attached to the meat, we put together a flavorful glaze with the sticking power of Krazy Glue.
See the recipe when you keep reading.