I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Red Eye Gravy

This being the South, I have easy access to country ham. It is a ham that is cured a little different than what I grew up with. It is a little tastier and a little saltier but you have to be careful when you are cooking it so that it doesn't dry out. They sell it by the slice down here, ready to throw into a cast iron skillet. Traditionally it is served with Red Eye Gravy.

One folk legend surrounding the origin of the "red-eye" name credits former United States President Andrew Jackson with requesting ham with gravy as red as his cook's eyes, which were bloodshot from drinking the night before.

Another circulating explanation is that the black coffee in the gravy will keep people awake. A more empirical account of the name's origin is that "red-eye" describes the oily fat circles that appear in the gravy.

Red Eye Gravy and Country Ham

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Drop in a little corn oil or butter and fry the ham for a minute or two on each side. You'll know the ham is done when the fat turns translucent. Do a few slices this way and then remove. DON'T COOK THESE TOO LONG OR THEY WILL GET DRY. ALSO DO NOT COOK THEM UNTIL SECONDS BEFORE YOU ARE READY TO SERVE THEM. Drop a cup of black coffee into the bottom of the pan and deglaze the hammy goodness. Cook it for a minute or so until a little of the coffee evaporates. Viola - red eye gravy.