Because when it comes to food, the morning after should give the night before a runny egg for its money.

Chef-Michael-Smith-Food-Network-Canada

“When you’re a chef and that’s your primary lens on food,” says chef Michael Smith, “leftovers take on a bad cast.” Diners often think that restaurant specials are made of unsold food from the night before. “But when you’re a home cook it’s just part of life. So you anticipate that. It’s one more reason why you try to cook whatever you’re cooking right in the first place, so the leftovers are valid as well.”

Hiding last night’s holiday meal in morning eggs is an easy default use of leftovers, but Smith, a judge on Food Network’s Chopped Canada, sees it more as a cheat for concealing overcooked food.

“You can make a frittata out of anything. What’s wrong with it is, it really comes down to the quality of the leftovers.” Dried out hams and turkeys, says the television host and cookbook author, are the result of improper cooking — heat too high, too long, not enough moisture from basting.

“Make a broth,” advises Smith. A quick stock, bones thrown into a pot of boiling water while the table is being cleared, can reinvigorate those dishes when they are reheated. “That broth is the key to moisture the next day with the leftovers.”

But even with a properly cooked ham, he is more interested in its secondary use. “Rarely do we roast a ham and eat every single bit of it,” says Smith. “You know you’re gonna have leftovers. So as you start to carve the ham, right away, take a big chunk off it, and maybe even the very best chunk, for sandwiches.”

ham-and-egg-grilled-cheese-sandwich

Ham-and-Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients:

4 slices sourdough bread
1 cup (250 ml) butter, softened
6 oz (175 g) each thinly sliced cheddar
cheese and ham
2 fried eggs

Directions:

1. Preheat frying pan on medium-low heat
2. Brush one side of each slice of bread lightly with butter. Pile two slices, butter side down, with half of cheese, ham and 1 egg each.
3. Top with remaining slices of bread, buttered side up.
4. Place the sandwich in pan and cook until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and repeat. Serve.

Credits:

Story: Cory Mintz. Recipe: Andrea Nicholson. Photography (for sandwich): James Tse. Food Styling: Ashley Denton. Prop Styling: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson.

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.