I’m celebrating Game Day retro-style this year, readers! I’ve been having a lot of fun over the past few months looking through some of my mother’s old recipe books from the years before I was born, into my early childhood. Some of the recipes from the newspapers and magazines of the era have made both of us chuckle a bit, but a good many of them have given me inspiration for some reinvented dishes. This delicious Ham and Swiss Slab Pie evolved from a recipe my mother clipped around 1980. I layer buttery, flaky puff pastry with Dijon mustard, thinly-sliced ham, shredded swiss, caramelized onions, and a drizzle of a garlic-herb egg wash. Baked until puffed and golden, the pie makes a pretty, yet rustic presentation, making it perfect for gathering around the TV to watch the game this weekend with your beverage of choice.
The recipe that this slab pie originated from was called “Greek Pizza,” though neither of us quite understands the name, because there’s really nothing “Greek” about it! The original was a very rich, ham-centric dish, calling for both a full pound of ham and a pound of cheese. The concept was good, but it was quite salty and the texture was much heavier than we can comfortably enjoy these days. We decided to resurrect the recipe this fall and started tweaking. I ended up dialing back the ham and cheese quantities significantly, which instantly lightened the texture. We both thought that it needed a little Dijon to contrast the rich flavors, and my mother had the great suggestion of caramelized onions for a touch of sweetness. (“Touchdown” for Mom!)
If there’s one step I wouldn’t skip here, it’s cutting the three slits in the top of the pie before baking. The original recipe did not call for this, and I think it greatly contributed to the pie’s heavy, almost soggy texture. The steam needs to escape for all of those flaky layers in the pastry to properly puff. We most enjoy this slab pie after it’s allowed to cool for about 10 minutes, so that the butter in the puff pastry has a chance to settle and the flavors can meld a bit. Since we were able to bring this oldie but goodie into 2016, I might be feeling inspired to throw on a pair of scrunch socks with my leggings and jersey on Sunday and really party like it’s 1980. I promise to spare you the pics!
More of my favorite recipes for Game Day entertaining:
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip
Hot Crab Salsa Dip
Grilled Meatball Subs
Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle-Lime Aioli
Jam Crumble Bars
Strawberry Basil Soda
Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)
Beer Raised Waffles with Cheddar and Scallions (great with chili!)