With a salad to invent and a lot of ham and cheese in my fridge, I began wondering why we’ve come up with ham and cheese, ham salad, but not ham and cheese salad. Well, as it turns out, many people have had that same thought, judging by the number of ham and cheese salad recipes you can find with a quick Google search. But my version is extra simple, and, unlike others, has no vegetables to put off the kids.
- 1 cup diced (¼ inch) cooked smoked ham*
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- ½ tsp dry mustard (or to taste; my tester said I could’ve bumped up the mustard, though not very much)
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Mix the mustard into the mayonnaise, then add the cheese.
- Combine it all gently with the diced ham. Chill.
- Makes two servings.
- This would be good for sandwiches, or served on lettuce leaves, or alongside a green salad. You could also try stuffing tomatoes with it.
- If you want a more intense flavor, you could try browning the diced ham in a little bacon fat first — but let it cool completely before you add it to the other ingredients.
- This shouldn’t needed added salt, but go ahead if you feel the need.
- My taste tester suggested it would also work with Swiss cheese; in that case you might need to add some salt.
- *Did you know pre-sliced ham costs about twice as much as its weight in a whole or half ham? It pays to get a meat slicer and do it yourself.
I was a little surprised not to find a ham salad recipe in that classic American cookbook, Mary at the Farm, but then the farm is supposed to be in Bucks County, in eastern Pennsylvania, and according to Wikipedia it’s western Pennsylvania that’s really ham salad country. (It also says “citation needed”, so draw your own conclusions. ) However, in the section on using cold meat, the book advises cutting up cold ham in a food chopper, putting it on bread spread with butter, and spreading mustard over that. And as I was reading, I found a way to get rid of any fat on cold roast beef: Just heat the beef in a pan and let the fat “fry off”. I never would’ve thought of that, but I’ll have to give it a try.
And if you’ve never thought of ham and cheese salad, give it a try.