ham it up

food detective

Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Meat, Cocktail Party, Lunch, Posted on February 17, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten

Happy Chinese New Year- it’s the year of the pig! What perfect timing that I stumbled upon the following recipe. One of my personal new year’s resolutions is to finally go through all my old cooking magazines that have literally been piling up for decades. And while I’ve been feeling some Marie Kondo pressure to simply pitch them all, I’m glad I haven’t. Flipping through the pages and seeing food trends come and go has brought me certain joy. My happiness peaks when I find a recipe that stands the test of time. 

One of my guilty pleasures is ham salad on crackers. For some reason it always reminds me of my mom, which is funny because if you knew her you would never guess that she usually had a little container of it in the drawer of her refrigerator, right beside her array of gourmet cheeses. 

Turns out it’s really hard to find good ham salad. It can either be super mayonnaisey, or salty, or over processed. So, my heart raced a bit as I found what proved to be a quintessential southern recipe. And let’s be honest- who doesn’t want a bite of fabulous homemade ham salad.

Start with eight ounces of country ham, trimmed of most fat.

Cut it into a dice. You should have about one and a half cups.

Scatter half of the diced ham in a layer in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Follow with a quarter cup of golden raisins. Be sure to use golden raisins. They add the perfect texture and subtle sweetness.

Repeat layering the remaining diced ham and another quarter cup of golden raisins.

Pulse until very few golden raisins remain whole, about ten two-second pulses.

Dollop in 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, three tablespoons mayonnaise, and three tablespoons pickle relish evenly over the top.

Briefly pulse until just combined. Take care not to over process. Season to taste with black pepper.

The ham salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

While you can use the salad as a dip, or served on crackers or celery ribs.

Using endive leaves gives it an upscale vibe.

Remove the leaves from the endive.

Trim so they are all the same length.

Spoon the salad onto the base of the endive leaves.

Arrange artfully on a platter. I'm sure my mom would approve. 

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