ORIGINAL RECIPE: From my own experience and love of ham salad
TIMING: 10 minutes
TOOLS: A small or medium food processor, although that’s not completely necessary
COOK TYPE: None
HEALTH: Well, I suppose ham salad is not exactly health food, but it may not be as bad as you think. With a nice, natural bread or–even better–some whole grain crackers and raw veggie crudites, it can be an acceptable protein. Of course, you need to buy a premium, nitrate-free bit of ham as well as some natural (perhaps even olive oil) mayonnaise or make your own. And then limit your mayonnaise intake.
EXPERIENCE: Ham salad is one of those foods that was a food experience for me. I was in late elementary school and we were on our way to Florida for the yearly get-out-of-the-snow trip. We stopped in Kentucky for the night and headed to a Kroger’s for a hotel dinner. At the deli counter, my mom spotted ham salad on display and convinced us that it would be good. We took it back to the hotel. We made sandwiches (probably with Wonder bread) and circled up the bags of chips.
With the first bite, I was in love.
Many years later, I would move to the South, where ham salad was born and enjoyed, but I was disappointed to find that it was not very popular. And where I could find it, it was often made with a Spam-like product. So I had to wing it. I thought about the mustardy tang of the original, the smooth mayo, the tart relish, and the bite of the onion, and I whipped up my own simple recipe.
NOTES: You can make this with a food processor, because it’s quicker, but I enjoy the charm of cutting small-diced ham by hand. In the pictures, I used the food processor method because I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, just looking to get the stuff in my mouth. If you are making this for a luncheon, I would suggest the hand-dice.
Food Processor method:
- Cut 6 ounces of ham into large chunks and drop into your food processor. (I do 2 batched in my small processor.) Pulse until ham is evenly minced but not at all pasty. Move to a mixing bowl.
- Add 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1 minced tablespoon parsley, 1-2 tablespoons minced white or yellow onion, 1/4 cup dill pickle relish, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and a hefty pinch of ground black pepper.
- Mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Taste for seasoning.
- Cut 6 ounces of ham into a very fine, consistent dice. Move to a small mixing bowl.
- Add 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, 1-2 tablespoons minced white or yellow onion, 1/4 cup dill pickle relish, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and a hefty pinch of ground black pepper. Stir until combined and taste for seasoning.
Serve with sandwich bread as a sandwich or with crackers and raw veggie crudites. It would even make a fine addition to a green salad.
*Recipe changed from the original.