Ham Salad

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 that same room-temperature mayonnaise consideration that keep tuna or chicken salad at bay, or simply a drift away from meat.

Still and all, ham salad is a beautiful option for holiday left-overs, and it’s a good nosh whenever. Three ingredients are essential: a binding agent—it doesn’t have to be mayo; cream cheese will do, too—finely diced or pureed lean ham—and pickle relish. 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 half cup mayo, two tablespoons each of sweet relish and minced onions. Mix well with a teaspoon each of black pepper and dry mustard. It’s better cooled for an hour or so before use.