If your house is anything like mine around the holidays, there is always a baked ham (or two) hanging around in the days between Christmas and New Years. Sure, ham sandwiches (on Hawaiian rolls, natch) make a nice lunch for a few days in a row, but after a while, the thick slices lose their appeal and become a boring chore to plow through.
In The Great Meat Cookbook, Bruce Aidells presents a perfect solution to all of those porky leftovers: Deviled Ham (in this case, courtesy of his wife's Gammy Brown). For the uninitiated, deviled ham is a chilled mayo-rich salad akin to its chicken and egg brethren. Sure it's a bit retro, but there's nothing to say that retro can't taste good. Aidells' version builds complexity with softened shallots, prepared horseradish, and a generous scoop of diced pickles. And by pulsing the ham in the food processor, he presents a salad with a simultaneously chunky and smooth texture perfect for smearing onto both crackers and crudites—perfect for assuaging any palate fatigue.
Why I picked this recipe: I'm always looking for ways to creatively use up ham leftovers around the holidays.
What worked: Everything worked just fine here; I liked the salad seasoned as per the recipe, but tweaking the proportions of mayonnaise, horseradish, and mustard is easy if necessary.
What didn't: You've gotta be on the mayo-salad train to enjoy this dish.
Suggested tweaks: This salad tastes best after the flavors have had a chance to meld. If you have time, let it set in the fridge overnight before serving. For the absolute best version of deviled ham, make your own mayo from scratch.
Reprinted with permission from The Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells, copyright 2012. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
Gammy Brown's Deviled Ham from 'The Great Meat Cookbook'
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped shallots
- 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-diced leftover ham
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery, including leafy tops
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or more to taste
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise, or more if needed
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles, sweet pickles, or cornichons (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Put the ham into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to the bowl with the shallots. Add the celery, parsley, horseradish, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles (if using), and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Taste for seasonings. Add more horseradish, mustard, and/or pepper to taste and add more mayonnaise if the mixture seems too dry.
Pack the deviled ham into an attractive crock or serving bowl and serve at room temperature. (Or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.)