People just don’t make ham salad like they used to. At one time, you’d see it on just about any occasional buffet table, be it wedding, anniversary, or funeral, but nowadays it’s all pimento cheese and hummus. Maybe it’s because of that same room-temperature mayonnaise phobia that keeps tuna or chicken salad at bay, or simply a drift away from meats in general.
Still and all, ham salad is a beautiful option for holiday left-overs, and it’s a good nosh (sorry) whenever. Three ingredients are essential: a binding agent—it doesn’t have to be mayo; cream cheese or yogurt will do, too—finely diced or pureed lean ham—and a pickle or relish, or both. Me, I like a fine consistency with horseradish, mustard and a little grated onion, but, as Rombauer and Co. say, ham salad, “should be a matter of inspiration”.
Here’s an easy one. For a pound of finely-chopped ham, add about a quarter cup mayo, two tablespoons each of sweet relish and minced onions. Mix well with a tablespoon each of black pepper and dry mustard. Chill for at least an hour.