I’ve got a quick recipe for you today. And although I say “recipe” it’s really more of a concept. With the holidays approaching, we are all about to be inundated with family members, gifts, and leftovers. I know, leftovers are by far the least glamorous aspect of the holiday season but they are a reality we all have to grapple with. So, allow me to show you how best to grapple with leftover ham – Ham and Kimchi Quesadillas with Pomegranate Guacamole.
My family is no shrinking violet when it comes to feasting buffet style. Most of us love to cook, and every one of us loves to eat. Oh, and those are our two favorite points of conversation as well. So, with this ravenous spirit in mind, I imagine you must be wondering what our holiday dinners look like. Well, I can assure you, they’re just as overwhelming as you’re currently imagining. Case in point, every Thanksgiving there is usually a 15-pound turkey as well as a whole smoked ham. Yeah. Why have only one giant piece of protein when you can have two?
I feel like it’s not even worth mentioning the marathon of sides that accompany these TWO roast beasts, but I do think you should know that there is sometimes upwards of six different flavors of pie waiting in the wings. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Thursday night dinners are all beyond the pale when the whole brood is kicking it at the farm. And if you’re wondering what the “farm is, it’s basically a family compound in the middle of nowhere Nova Scotia. Basically, all you need to know is it’s a lot of open land, ocean, and fresh air. And in my family, fresh air inspires oyster shucking competitions, made up sporting events with nonsensical rules, and blind tastings of beer, scotch and pretty much anything consumable. You know, typical family stuff.
All of this is to say, whenever my family gets together to feast we inevitably have a surplus of ham. The first few days, a real deal ham sandwich is the height of luxury. By the fifth day, it’s a slog. And by the seventh, the residual ham is taking up too much space in the freezer. Now, the ham won’t be forgotten in that freezer. It will inevitably emerge and find it’s way into a pot of pea soup. But then there’s another problem. Now we’re lousy with pea soup and IT is taking up too much space in the freezer.
Now, I don’t want to begrudge the ham for its ability to feed so many and stretch into a ridiculous number of meals. Efficiency should never be a source of shame. But I think we need to think beyond the soup pot to make leftover ham feel less like a burden. Enter the Ham and Kimchi Quesadillas.
As I said at the beginning, these Ham and Kimchi Quesadillas are more of a concept rather than a recipe. They’re essentially ham, kimchi, shredded gouda, and a tangle of Green Onion Salad. If you’re a long-time reader, you may remember this salad from this post. From there it’s as simple as folding the tortilla and introducing it to a well-oiled cast-iron skillet. Then you just serve the finished quesadillas with a side of the pomegranate guacamole. And just like that, the ham you couldn’t stand for one more night is transformed into a K-Mex fantasy.
So, seriously, that’s it! I told you this was a quick one. If you’ve got some ham your keen to avail yourself of, these Ham and Kimchi Quesadillas are here for you.
Ham and Kimchi Quesadillas with Pomegranate Guacamole
- 2 avocados
- 1/2 white onion finely diced
- 1 jalapeno finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 lime juiced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
Green Onion Salad
- 6-7 scallions
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp gochugaru
Ham and Kimchi Quesadillas
- 4 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
- 12 slices leftover ham
- 1 cup gouda shredded
- 1/2 cup kimchi
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 batch Green Onion Salad see above
For the Guacamole
- Place the avocado, onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin in a large bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash the avocado until smooth and then stir to combine.
- Fold the pomegranate arils and cilantro into the avocado mixture. Cover the guacamole and transfer to the fridge until ready to serve.
For the Green Onion Salad
- Separate the greens from the whites of each scallion. Thinly slice the white parts and cut the greens into thin ribbons. Place the scallions in a large bowl and cover completely with ice water. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Drain the green onion and place them in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Quesadillas
- Scatter a small amount of the gouda over one half of a whole wheat tortilla. Layer ham slices on top of the cheese followed by kimchi. Place 4 jalapeno rings on top of the kimchi and add another sprinkling of cheese. Top the whole lot with a small amount of the Green onion salad and fold the naked half of the tortilla on top of the fillings. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Pour the olive oil into a large cast-iron skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add one to two quesadillas to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Fry the quesadillas until both sides are crispy and golden, about 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the finished quesadillas to a cutting board and cut them in half. Arrange the pieces on a platter and serve immediately with a side of pomegranate guacamole.