What Is Ham Salad? Is It A Ham Salad?

Surprise, surprise! It's just like chicken salad, but with ham, so naturally I have a bunch of ideas for it. I believe ham should be roasted every bit as frequently as chicken — why we save it for holidays is beyond me. Maybe it's just the "two weeks since Christmas" craving setting in, or maybe it's cause I like playing with ham leftovers more than chicken, but it's ham salad sandwich time. Let's dive right in so I can get this over with, burn through the day and go on this date already. Kessler would be proud. Also, ham salad is not an aphrodisiac. Actually I shouldn't make sweeping generalizations like that, I haven't tried it out.

So! You've got your leftover ham and some nice sturdy sandwich bread. What you don't want to do is make a ham sandwich because you've made, like, a thousand of those in your life already. What you haven't done is finely chopped the good stuff and mixed it into any of the following:

  • Whole-grain honey mustard, cream cheese, chopped shallots and parsley
  • Good old-fashioned country ham spread

  • Japanese mayo, chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped dill and lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • Ricotta, caramelized onions, chopped arugula
  • Regular mayo, cayenne pepper, shredded cheddar and chopped pimentos = pimento cheese ham salad = whoah there.

  • Fancy mayo, Dijon mustard, chopped cornichons and onions and make sure you butter that bread real thorough like. Cause that's how the French do.

I can rarely predict or even properly identify food trends, but something about freshened-up spins on classic homey stuff like meatloaf, mac and cheese (not with lobster, with other stuff) and even humble ham salad seems like a solid idea. Not a lot of effort, nobody will call you a bougie snob, no "sourcing." Not that I don't love sourcing and being called a snob, I do, but I promised myself I'd be more honest this year and guess what? I'm lazy and if I'm not in the Test Kitchen or at a catering gig, I'm not making fancy food. But that doesn't mean my ham sandwich isn't better than yours.

More humble sandwiches for lunch on Food Republic: