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Fear Conquered: Ham Salad
“This salad really doesn’t go with these rolls,” Boyfriend Javelin says. He’s swallowed one bite of the ham salad sandwiched between two halves of a dinner roll. “This needs something heartier,” he says.
I sigh and shrug. “Well, it looks good,” I say. “And ham salad is typically served in buns when you see it.” At least when you see it as part of a sandwich platter. Which is, to be fair, typically when one sees ham salad.
Boyfriend Javelin takes another bite and makes a face. “They just don’t go together. The bread’s too sweet.”
I roll my eyes and continue editing the photos of the very sandwich he’s eating. “They’re the only rolls I had in the freezer,” I say, a bit sharply. “And I thought it was good when I tried it.”
“Never mind,” he says and crams the rest of the sandwich in his mouth. “If you don’t want to hear...”
“I DO want to hear,” I say emphatically. And a little hotly. “I’m just saying, that for the photo, I wanted to use a bun. But I can see how maybe a multi-grain bread might be better.”
Boyfriend Javelin rinses his plate off in the sink. “I shouldn’t have said anything…” he says, still a little wounded.
I sigh again, but try not to let it come out. Because sometimes - and sometimes frequently - I am the tiniest bit sensitive about unsolicited feedback. Even if I claim I’m not. “No,” I assure him - and myself. “It’s fine. I agree - I think the salad would be better on a more savory bread. Less sweet.”
In fact, despite the photos you see here, I’d recommend serving this ham salad on a multi-grain bun or between a couple slices of hearty multi-grain bread. It’s not that the salad couldn’t be served in a dinner roll if that’s all you’ve got, but someone - not pointing any fingers - might offer some unsolicited feedback. And an unsolicited face or two.
Besides, multi-grain bread and buns are a wee bit more healthful than buttery sweet dinner rolls. And they’re even easier to make. So ignore my photos and take Boyfriend Javelin’s advice - serve this ham salad with a hearty bread.
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|Add 1 1/2 pounds cubed smoked ham to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.|
|Pulse the food processor until the ham is evenly ground.|
|Finely dice 1 stalk of celery and 1/2 of a medium yellow onion.|
|Mince a handful of fresh dill.|
|Combine the ham, onion, celery and dill with 1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise, 4 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard, 1 Tablespoon red chile paste and 3 Tablespoons drained capers.|
|Thoroughly mix the salad and chill for at least 2 hours for best flavor.|
|Serve the salad on a bun or roll of choice and optionally garnish with lettuce, tomato and cheese.|
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Deviled Ham Salad
Prep Time: 30 min
Ingredients (makes 8 sandwiches)
- 1 1/2 pounds smoked ham, cubed
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
- 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
- 1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise
- 4 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- 1 Tablespoon red chile paste
- Add the cubed ham to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade; pulse the food processor until the ham is evenly ground
- In a medium bowl, combine the ground ham with the remaining ingredients and throughly mix; cover and chill the salad for at least 2 hours for best flavor
- Serve the ham salad on multi-grain buns or bread and optionally garnish with lettuce, tomato and cheese
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Hungry for Tips?
- Smoked vs. Unsmoked: You can really use whatever ham you like, but I prefer a smoked and sliced ham. The smokey flavor adds an extra depth to the salad and sliced ham just cuts down on the prep work. Granted, there isn’t much work involved.
- Red Chile Paste: I love the subtle spicy heat this paste brings to this salad. There's heat but no burn - and I like the flavor better than chile powder or cracked black pepper. So I strongly recommend using chile paste. But if you cannot find the paste (or if you just don't want to use it), add a pinch or two of chile powder instead. It's not the same, but in a pinch...
- Homemade Mayonnaise: There is one sure-fire way to improve almost any salad - homemade mayonnaise. So if you're serious about making a tastier ham salad, make your own mayonnaise. Then worry about everything else.
- Capers: Capers add a unique briny sharpness to this salad that is both subtle yet clearly missed when the capers are left out. So unless you're prejudiced against capers, add them to the salad.
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