Deviled ham can entertain numerous variations

Taking my family’s Easter meal into the great outdoors let me off the hook for roasting a huge ham or laying a hearty brunch spread.

Nevertheless, our picnic had to be a little fancy and still stick with us for a day of egg hunting, followed by boating and fishing. To the de rigueur deviled eggs, I added cold, cooked chicken on the bone, my family’s favorite “savory puffs,” whole strawberries, ripe pineapple and ham sandwiches.

But these weren’t just any ham sandwiches. I love making deviled ham with the leftover Easter roast, and because leftovers of that variety weren’t in store this year, I purchased an all-natural Applegate brand ham steak, which was quickly dispatched into bits in my food processor.

There’s no big trick to deviled ham, of course. It can basically be mixed up with the same seasonings and condiments as deviled eggs before spreading onto bread. The simple format encourages variation, in fact, according to cooks’ tastes.

To my mixture, I added some prepared horseradish and fresh, snipped chives. I omitted the red onion and hot sauce listed in the recipe below to accommodate my kids’ tastes. I’m of the ilk who prefers a nicely homogenous, soft sandwich filling devoid of ingredients that make for a distracting crunch, which I’ll take on the side. In this case, however, a few radish microgreens added a spicy note, and I could assemble my kids’ sandwiches without them  

And although I love mayonnaise, I erred on the side of making the mixture drier so it wouldn’t ooze out during transport. To shore up the integrity of the white sandwich bread (crusts cut off), I spread one side with butter.

Try these variations with your leftover Easter ham, keeping them interesting all week, perhaps, with a different combination each day.

Tribune News Service photo

Deviled Ham

1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces and minced in a food processor

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 small onion, peeled and cut into small dice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 to 2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 cup mayonnaise, or to taste

Hot sauce, as needed

Salt, as needed

Black pepper, as needed

Combine the first five ingredients.

Add the mayonnaise a little at a time until you achieve desired consistency.

Add the hot sauce to desired strength.

Season and chill for one hour before serving.

Makes about 4 sandwiches.

VARIATIONS:

1. Swap part of the mayo for sour cream, creme fraiche or cream cheese.

2. Use a different mustard, like spicy Creole mustard.

3. Use green or red onions instead of white.

4. Add a tablespoon or two of pickle relish.

5. A clove or two of minced garlic never hurt anyone.

6. Try a squeeze of lemon juice or a spill of vinegar of your choice.

7. Add another veg, like a small dice of celery or carrot.

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