Deviled ham spread recipe is the simple answer to Easter leftovers

Deviled Ham Spread

Total time:20 mins


Total time:20 mins



I almost felt as if I should apologize to pastry chef and cookbook author Gesine Bullock-Prado for writing about this ham sandwich spread.

It’s from her cookbook “My Vermont Table,” which is filled with delicious-sounding seasonal dishes and loads of baked goods. Why not choose one of those rather than this 20-minute recipe?

But she politely interrupted me before I could get started, noting that she loves this recipe, which she describes as “part ham sandwich, part Vermont pimento cheese spread,” as much as I do. And it was almost as if she were reading my mind when as she talked about why it’s just right for spring.

“It’s not fancy fare. It’s something you can use leftover Easter ham for, and it harkens back to simple sandwiches. This is a humble way of using leftovers that makes them tastier.

“Why does everything have to be so precious and elevated when it’s likely that people have these elements in their refrigerator?” she said.

“It’s slightly squishy in the best elementary school way,” Bullock-Prado said of the sandwich. She does recommend “the backbone of a more elevated bread,” something a touch firmer, such as the oat bread recipe in her cookbook, as well as a quality Virginia ham.

Rather than an orange, soft cheddar, she suggests a Vermont one such as Cabot Creamery Seriously Sharp or a two-year-aged variety with crystals in it.

“When you use a Vermont cheddar cheese, it is aged,” she said. “It has a salt profile. It has a deep flavor. It has a rigidity in a good way. It holds up in the recipe.

Bullock-Prado calls the recipe Deviled Ham Sammies in her cookbook, but she urges people not to limit the spread’s uses: Make open-faced sourdough tartines; add it as a spread to a modern charcuterie board; use it to make a cheese ball with nuts; or dress it up with herbs and spices. (I also tried it spread on crisp rice crackers and tucked into celery stalks.)

When I mentioned that the recipe felt like comfort food, she said that was a goal of her whole book: “I want to give people comfort. That doesn’t mean it’s all rib-sticking food. Some of it is light and refreshing. Comforting can be as salad or a goulash.”

Her cookbook is also a love letter to her adopted state of Vermont, its produce and seasons. Bullock-Prado, who grew up in a vegetarian household in Virginia, spent much of her youth in more meat-centric Germany with her mother’s family. She also lived in Southern California for a time and recalls always feeling like a visitor.

“In Virginia, I was the German girl. In Germany, I was the American girl.”

Vermont marries aspects she loved about both places — the caring people, the picturesque towns and mountains — and it has something Los Angeles did not: seasons.

“When we came to Vermont, everything came together,” she said.

In her adopted state, Bullock-Prado declares there are six seasons, including mud/sugaring season after the snow melts, when the roads turn to mud and the maple trees are tapped, filling the air with sweet scents. There’s also stick season, when the autumn leaves fall away, taking with them the tourists and crowds: “That’s when the seasonal businesses close shop and everyone takes a deep breath. You can breathe and actually see the landscape before you.”

The cookbook, photographed by her husband, Raymond G. Prado, over a full calendar year, reflects each of those seasons as well as the way the couple eats and serves food at home.

“I just want this to feel like my home. I want it to be genuine. I wanted this book to truly reflect a year in our culinary life. … That’s why it is my Vermont table, not a Vermont table.”

If you do plan to indulge in an Easter ham on Sunday, or anytime, and have leftovers, keep this spread in mind as a quick supper or a snack — a delicious way to re-enjoy your holiday centerpiece.

The spread is great for sandwiches or as a snack or party food. Bullock-Prado recommends adding pickled red onions to sandwiches made with the spread, but we tried it with thinly sliced raw ones, too, and thought either way was delicious. The spread is rich and creamy — if you want to cut that richness, consider replacing the cream cheese with Greek yogurt for a little tang.

NOTE: You want a firm cheddar cheese for this spread. Vermont cheddar, such as Cabot Creamery Seriously Sharp, can be finely grated; other kinds of cheddar may be too soft.

Make Ahead: If making your own pickled onions, it is best to make them 24 hours in advance.

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

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  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese (may substitute 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (2 1/2 ounces) Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, preferably Vermont cheddar (see NOTE)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard, plus more to taste
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento
  • Fine salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pickled red onions or thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 slices bread, preferably oat, lightly toasted
  • 4 large butter lettuce leaves

In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, cheddar, mayonnaise and mustard until smooth. Add the ham and pimento and stir to combine. Taste, then add more mustard and season with salt and pepper, if using, as needed.

Place the pickled red onions on one slice of bread, top with half of the spread, the lettuce and a second slice of bread. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Or serve the spread with crackers on the side.

Per serving (1/2 cup of the spread with cream cheese)

Calories: 656; Total Fat: 38 g; Saturated Fat: 18 g; Cholesterol: 120 mg; Sodium: 1404 mg; Carbohydrates: 51 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 11 g; Protein: 31 g

Per serving (1/2 cup of the spread with yogurt)

Calories: 490; Total Fat: 20 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 61 mg; Sodium: 1234 mg; Carbohydrates: 51 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 10 g; Protein: 31 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Adapted from “My Vermont Table” by Gesine Bullock-Prado (Countryman Press, 2023).

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to [email protected].

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