“You just don’t see much country ham being used in Philadelphia,” says chef Erin O’Shea, of West Philly BYO Marigold Kitchen. So last winter, the Maryland native and Virginia-trained chef decided to introduce us Northerners to some of her favorite Down South varieties by way of a $12 tasting plate, which showcases a rotating selection of cured hams more reminiscent of prosciutto than of Easter dinner. The plate allows you to savor the differences between, say, a brown-sugar-cured, hickory-smoked mild ham from Kentucky and a pungent salt-and-pepper-cured, year-aged variety from Virginia. Or you can ham it up even more with the $50 five-course ham tasting menu O’Shea unveils this month. It includes the tasting plate, veggies tossed in a ham vinaigrette, halibut in ham broth with fava beans, chicken breast stuffed with Father’s Country Ham, and … an old-farm-style rhubarb tart. Because even a ham fan like O’Shea knows the rule about too much of a good thing: “Ham just shouldn’t be in some places.”
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