Easter is almost here and I can't help but think of all of the wonderful memories in the kitchen I have with my family. Grandmama's ham salad has created such a special food memory for me as a child that I feel the urge to re-create it, even when I don't have leftover ham. My grandmother never wrote this recipe down. This is the version I remember. I often call my mother to ask her exactly what Grandmama did or how much of something she puts in the recipe. Her response usually is, "You're going to have to come over and watch me." So many gifted cooks just do what they do without even knowing what they are doing!
This "salad" is less like a meal, but rather a spread or a Southern pâté. It is delicious on crackers and especially on a biscuit. When I do get the craving, and I don't have or need a whole ham, I ask the butcher to cut some ham in thicker slabs rather than slices for sandwiches. This recipe makes 4 cups, enough for 8 sandwiches.
- 1 pound ham, trimmed and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 dill "sandwich-sliced" pickles, chopped
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickle juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put the ham, onion, and celery in a food processor. Pulse 20 to 25 times to mince.
- Remove to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Chill. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper before serving.
- Serve on sandwiches, crackers, or cheese biscuits, or mix into the yolk mixture of deviled eggs.