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Spiced-Ham-and-Cheese Toasts

"At my restaurant, we take inspiration from our mothers," says chef Lauren Kiino, "but we make the recipes using the best local ingredients." So the cheese that helps make the deviled ham velvety comes from Cowgirl Creamery, Kiino's neighbor in the Ferry Building. Her trick for keeping the toast crisp: Spread the ham topping on just before baking. This recipe makes more ham topping than you'll need for the 24 toasts.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 24 toasts

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  • 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat or unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons minced sage

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups finely diced smoked ham

  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 4 scallions—2 thinly sliced, 2 julienned

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 6 slices of firm white bread or pain de mie, crusts removed

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Kosher salt


  1. Heat the bacon fat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the chopped onion and sage leaves, cloves and cayenne and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the ham mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. In a food processor, combine the ham mixture with the cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced scallions, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar and pulse until the mixture resembles the texture of a rustic country pâté.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. Brush the bread slices with the melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Using a sharp knife, cut each slice of bread into 4 triangles. Transfer the bread triangles to a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until golden.
  4. Spread some of the spiced ham mixture on each toast triangle and bake for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots. Garnish the ham-and-cheese toasts with the julienned scallions and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The spiced ham mixture can be refrigerated in a covered airtight container for 4 days.

Suggested Pairing

Juicy, berry-rich California red blend: NV Modern House Wines Here's To You.

Contributed By Photo © Michael Turek Published December 2013

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