What to Do with Leftover Ham–Think Deviled Ham Pate

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
how to cook a ham

Deviled ham pate (aka ham salad) requires three ingredients: ham, a little mayonnaise, and mustard. Whiz it up and serve it as you would any fancy pate. A half sleeve of saltines, sliced Texas meat market-style, perfect for regular life snacking, but use whatever delivery vehicle you like.

Let’s talk about ham. Our fully intact, bone-in, non-spiral cut Smithfield ham is always a smash hit for holiday dinners like Easter Sunday. Tender, moist, hammy, and satisfying. Sadly, however, our little tour about town in search of one of the few city hams untouched by the spiral machine was worth it. A ten or eleven-pounder provides dinner for six plus a big ham bone as a table gift for Min’s pinto bean-making dad. And we had nearly three pounds left to enjoy during the week.

Which is great because we love leftovers. Leftovers can be a fresh start for something new and different, especially if what’s leftover hasn’t been confined to a specific flavor or seasoning ( like sweet barbecue sauce on braised pork shoulder). A straightforward baked ham will enable a few simple American classics–scrambled eggs with ham, grilled ham and cheese or ham on rye sandwiches, a chef salad loaded with ham chunks, and au gratin potatoes with ham.

And, don’t forget the ever-easy Deviled Ham. Deviled ham needs no proper recipe so just drop in the mayo and mustard straight from the jars. Why dirty a measuring cup when there’s nothing to measure?

Hold it to three ingredients–ham, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. Whiz it all up in the food processor until it’s as smooth as a fancy French pate. Resist TV food show temptation to clutter it with chopped celery, olives, pickles, or onion. Those ingredients are better off included on the cracker or toast, or in the sandwich. Just as a French pate yearns for a pickle, so it goes with our all-American Deviled Ham.

We find the spiral sliced ham much too limiting (and frequently dry). Convenience is can be a double-edged sword. A sharp knife and a big fork or sturdy tongs keep your own slicing skills up to snuff.

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