I've gone HAM for ham salad

Illustration for article titled I've gone HAM for ham salad
Photo: Kevin Pang

Welcome to The Takeout’s Unhealthy Salads Week, because America.

Years ago I found myself in Central Ohio in the town of Waldo. I came here, a 45-minute drive north of Columbus, specifically to visit G&R Tavern, a restaurant that for half a century has made its name on its fried bologna sandwich. That’s another write-up for another day, because it’s a rather spectacular dish. But I’m here today to sing the praises of a dish I first encountered here (even though it’s long been a staple of Southern and Midwest kitchens).


Ladies and gentlemen: ham salad. A salad in the same way tuna and chicken can be turned into a “salad,” but with chopped ham. I know, the combination “ham salad” feels like an unlawful contradiction. But see its potential: It’s working man’s pate, not too far from deviled ham spread. It’s delightful on crackers, even better between toasted bread and griddled. For those who feel a protein like ham would overpower with its hamminess, it doesn’t—the sweet pickle relish and mustard gives it a smooth, mellow savoriness.

In the pantheon of unhealthy salads, ham is underrated and underappreciated.

You can change that, though.

Illustration for article titled I've gone HAM for ham salad
Photo: Kevin Pang

Kevin’s “Well, I’ll be” Ham Salad

  • 1 lb. ham, cubed (You can easily buy a ham steak, or ask the deli counter to for thick 1/4-inch slices.)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup mayo
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add cubed ham, celery, hard-boiled egg, shallots into a food processor. Pulse into a fine mince (you don’t want a paste-like consistency). Dump this into a large bowl, and add mayo, mustard, relish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and lots of cracked pepper. Combine until well-incorporated. I’ve purposely left out the salt, because your ham may be salty enough. Taste it. If it could use some salt, add a little at a time to taste. Chill for a few hours in the fridge. Serve with crackers as an appetizer, or between slices of white bread, then brushed with butter and griddled until golden brown.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.


Scavenger Rey

I tried to have an open mind but the texture (as seen in the header pic) is just... No.