- One 12-pound fresh ham roast from the leg, bone in
- 10 garlic cloves, halved
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- Remove the skin from the ham, leaving a thick layer of fat. Using a 4-inch paring knife, make incisions all over the ham about 1 inch apart and as deep as the blade will go.
- In a mortar, pound the garlic to a paste. Add the rosemary, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the fennel seeds and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
- Using a chopstick, push 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic paste deep into each incision. Rub any remaining paste all over the ham. Set the ham fat side up and, using a knife, score the fat 1/2 inch deep in a crosshatch pattern. Wrap the ham in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 300°. Set the ham in a roasting pan in which it fits snugly and bring to room temperature. Rub the ham with generous amounts of kosher salt and pepper. Roast the ham in the oven for 3 hours. Drain the pan juices and fat into a small saucepan; skim off the fat. Return the ham to the oven and roast for 3 hours longer, or until it is deeply browned and the meat is very tender.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Spoon any pan juices and fat into the small saucepan and skim again. Let the roast stand for 15 minutes. Heat the juices, adding a little water if the flavor is too strong. Cut the crisp fat from the top of the ham, then carve the ham and serve with the crisp fat and pan juices.
This fresh ham demands a red with enough tannin to cut the meat's fattiness and some earthiness to echo the fennel and garlic. That's Barolo.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.