This ham and cheese garlic bread is the best combination of garlic bread and Christmas leftovers you can dream up. Not only does it repurpose leftovers in a tasty way but it's absolutely delicious in its own right! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
I made this hasselback garlic bread just after Christmas and Mr NQN loved it so much he requested it for his lunch pretty much every day since. I also brought it to a family gathering and it was a smash hit!
Why This Ham and Cheese Garlic Bread is DELICIOUS as well as versatile
1 - It uses up lots of leftover ham
2- You can use any type of bread as long as it is unsliced. I have made it with an olive sourdough and a jalapeno pane di casa bread.
3 - This also works for slightly stale bread (although it really is most delicious with fresh bread).
4 - If you don't have ham, try it with salami!
5 - If you don't have ajvar (capsicum condiment), try a tomato pesto dip instead.
6 - IMHO garlic powder makes the BEST garlic butter for bread as the tiny garlic granules disperse better than chopped garlic chunks (I'm hopeless with finely dicing anything). A little tip if you buy garlic powder: keep it in the freezer to prevent it from clumping! It always clumps at room temperature no matter how airtight your jar is or if you add silica packets.
Although this is using leftovers it's still good enough to bring over for gatherings and I brought this over for Christmas Day lunch using up our enormous 10kg pineapple ham. Mr NQN's sister Araluen and her new fiancé Ben were hosting at their house. They had literally just moved in to their new house in Erskineville where they set up a lot of chairs in their back garden and a large table laden with food.
We were meeting Ben's family for the first time. He has three siblings so four kids in total, like the Elliotts. Ben's father Bob is a well known Australian artist and I was sitting next to him and his mother was a dancer. The whole family are very friendly and down to earth. I quietly breathed a sigh of relief when I saw regular food on the table because the last thing I wanted to do is bring a ham and cheese bread to a bunch of vegetarians. I pictured Mr NQN and I trying to cram the bread down. But thankfully this bread was very popular and it disappeared quickly. I cut off a few pieces and left a knife there for people to help themselves.
As far as Christmases go, there was very little drama but there was a bit of quirkiness. I am convinced that the Elliotts don't subscribe to the theory that you have to give a good first impression when meeting new people. They are unashamedly themselves, even when meeting members of the family to be. Roger dragged out a big garbage bag of clothes. His new girlfriend in Thailand had given her clothes to him to give to us. He hung it up for people to sift through which Ben's family politely did.
Like the Elliotts they love to dance and they danced while the Elliotts played instruments and sang. Mr NQN's father Roger took the opportunity to sing as loudly as he could - what he lacked in tune he made up for in volume and Ben's father Bob remarked, "Terrible singing! But so enthusiastic!" while chuckling to himself.
So tell me Dear Reader, how are you going with your leftovers? What did you do on Christmas Day?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Ham & Cheese Garlic Bread
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 4 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 1 loaf bread, unsliced
- 100g/3.5ozs salted butter, melted
- 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 100g/3.5ozs ajvar or tomato pesto
- 1 tablespoon chilli oil (I used Lulu's Remedy) plus 1 tablespoon extra for drizzling
- 400g/14ozs sliced ham
- 250g/8.8ozs cheese, sliced (tasty, cheddar or Swiss)
- 100g/3.5ozs mozzarella, grated
- 30g/1oz parmesan cheese, grated
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Place two chopsticks on each side of the bread to prevent cutting all the way through and with a bread knife, slice the bread into regular sized slices (I got around 15 slices in my loaf). Place the bread on a large oiled sheet of foil (large enough to wrap the whole thing up).
Step 2 - Mix the butter, garlic powder and chives together and then brush within each cut on both sides generously and then brushing on top of the loaf. Mix the ajvar or tomato pesto with the chilli oil and repeat. Then I add the ham and cheese in each crack. Don't worry if your bread breaks in half, that can happen if the ham is quite thickly sliced. You can put it together in the end. Place a piece of parchment on top of the bread and then scrunch up the foil and cover tightly. Bake for 20 minutes.
Step 3 - Open up the foil and remove the parchment and add the mozzarella and parmesan on top. Increase heat to 190C/374F. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Drizzle with a little extra chilli oil and serve.