Maple Rhubarb Balsamic Glaze

According to Foodimentary, today is Strawberry-Rhubarb Day. Who knew?

The week has gone by in a blur of strawberry-picking, recipe-working, homework-nagging, dog-walking, mad activity. One more week of school (but no homework-yay!), and then CSA pickups start-yay! So much food, so little time.

So the Rhubarb Balsamic Reduction from last week sat in the refrigerator for a few days, and the flavors mellowed and melded into such a sweet-tart elixir, I just knew they needed to meet some meat.

I had a little wee ham (only 5 pounds! that’s a wee ham) waiting in the refrigerator too, so, well. There. You. Go. I knew I needed to do a little something more to the reduction to make it a proper glaze, so I added some Grade B Maple Syrup made by an amazing local young man named Ben. A bit of salt and pepper to season, and the true secret weapon-butter! Say it with me…everything is better with butter. Voila! The result was

Maple Rhubarb Balsamic Glaze

2 T Rhubarb Balsamic Reduction
1/4 C Grade B Maple Syrup
pinch salt
couple grinds of black pepper
1 T cold unsalted butter

Combine the reduction, syrup, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Reduce over medium heat to thicken, so that the mixture leaves a light coating on the bottom of the pan if you tilt it. It should be almost caramelly, but still loose enough to swirl around the pan. Then swirl in the cold butter, off the heat.

Dark, thick, sweet goodness. Oh yeah.

I scored the fat of the ham, and after the first hour of baking, brushed the glaze all over the little beauty, and baked for about 30-40 minutes more.

All glazed and glistening, now back in the oven!

Of course, if your ham is larger, you will need more glaze, so doubling the recipe will work. It will take a little longer for it to reduce, of course. Just wait until the last 30-40 minutes or so of cooking to apply the glaze, or you risk burning it. How do you know when you have 30-40 minutes left to bake your ham? Take its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. (You should really be doing this anyway. Just sayin’.) When you’re above 100 degrees, it’s probably ok to put the glaze on. You can always tent it with foil loosely if you fear it is going to burn.

On the carving board. Yes, I did sample the end there. I’m the cook.
Thin slices really let the glaze sing.

How does this taste? Sweet, with still a bit of tang, and smoky, the maple flavors deepened to caramel/toffee and rolled around in my mouth with the lightly salty ham to create a completely fabulous little bite. I put a bite of ham in The Husband’s mouth, and he just kept saying, “Wow. (blink blink) Wow. Wow!”

The Boy’s plate, before he dug in. What a good sport.

The Boy devoured it without speaking. This is a good thing. (The Boy is not a picky eater, he just is brimming with opinions and attitude at the moment.)

Oh, there is so much more to say, about the strawberries, the maple syrup maker Ben, I have some more recipes I’m working on with strawberries and rhubarb, it’s just going to have to wait till next time.

See you on the really busy Road.

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