This is a classic in my family. We always had this for our ‘Scandinavian’ Christmas Eve dinner, when the ham was often decorated with red and white ribbons tied around the bone. It is wonderful for the days that follow as well, as it is so big and people can just slice bits off whenever they feel like it. Often a pea soup is made with the leftover bone. It is easy to find a ready-salted ham in most parts of the world, although in Italy I cannot, so I often prepare it myself. Because I don’t use saltpetre for the preserving, my ham is not as pink as those you will buy. If you are going to cure your ham yourself, you should be extra careful with the brining process, especially if you won’t be using a preserving agent. I buy a leg of pork of about
Put the ham on an oven rack that will fit over an oven dish. Mix together the breadcrumbs and brown sugar. Paint the mustard all over the ham, reaching as far underneath as you can. It might be easier to work with your hands as the mustard will start melting. Sprinkle the breadcrumb and sugar mixture all over the ham, throwing handfuls at the side to make it stick. Spike cloves in the top of the ham to make a rough diamond pattern. Only the very underneath of your ham should be bare.
Bake the ham for 45 minutes–1 hour, or until the top is golden and crusty, turning the oven up a bit for the end of the cooking if necessary. Leave the ham to cool before slicing. Serve with Finnish mustard and lingonberry jam.
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