As accurately as I could predict what would be on our Easter dinner table when I was a child I could predict that on the day or two following the holiday my mother would make ham salad. She usually served it with SPLIT PEA SOUP and either made sandwiches or let us scoop it onto Ritz crackers. Sandwiches were nothing fancy…white bread, iceberg lettuce and ham salad served with potato chips…but we loved them, and I can still picture the old cast iron grinder clamped to the kitchen counter as my mom cranked out the chopped ingredients for this family favorite. I was happy to get rid of that old grinder when I got my first food processor, but I would give anything to have it back again if for nothing more than the memories it evokes.
Cut the ham into chunks and pulse in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped. Combine all the ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate several hours or overnight so the flavors can blend. Use dill pickles if you must, but sweet ones are traditional and add a lot of flavor to the salad. I dressed up my version of our favorite sandwich by substituting home made biscuits for the white bread and green leaf lettuce for the iceberg.
We didn’t have spiral cut ham back in the old days and my parents always bought a whole ham that they decorated with fruit and roasted in a slow oven with a brown sugar glaze until is was juicy and caramelized. I’m going to try that old fashioned way next year and will count on better results that I got this year with a spiral-cut from a big box retailer. Their meat department is usually excellent and I thought I would take a chance on one of their hams…won’t do that again. I didn’t get any complaints but I know what a ham should taste like and that wasn’t it! It does make good split pea soup and ham salad so it won’t go to waste.
- 12-ounces cooked ham
- ⅓ to ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced
- 2 green onions, minced
- 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop ham in a food processor or grind in a grinder if you have one.
- Mix together the mayonnaise and mustard. Set aside
- Combine celery, green onions, sweet pickle, parsley and seasonings.
- Add mayo mixture and combine well.
- Refrigerate several hours or overnight.