Sunday, April 27, 2014

Vegetable Ham Salad - Polish Style


Easter ham gets our prize for being one of the most versatile and delicious culinary gifts of the entire year.  The left overs are delicious and in our kitchen no part of our ham ever goes to waste. 

We always buy a much bigger ham than we really need for the Easter feast.  We like the spiral cut hams because they’re easier to work with when trimming the bone for left overs.  After the feast, when we can barely stand and all we want is a nap, we sharpen the carving knife and attack the bone.  Our daughter and son-in-law always cut off a big hunk to take home for their lunches and favorite left over dishes.  Next, the nice large slices are saved for our own sandwiches or tomorrow’s instant replay supper – no cooking required.   The medium sized pieces are trimmed of their fat, julienned and put in the freezer for a favorite ham and noodle casserole (see our blog post of April 10, 2012.) 

Then we start the final trim to pull off the smallest pieces destined for a ham salad.  But we’re always careful to save enough ham on the bone for a good soup.  The trimmed bone is carefully wrapped and deposited in the freezer as well. 

 Those smallest pieces are perfect for a ham and vegetable salad that is a lovely variation on a classic Polish Vegetable Salad (Polish Classic Recipes, Page 22).  It’s a great way to use up the rest of the ham,  making sure that none of that goodness is wasted. 

Vegetable Ham Salad
Serves 12

6 medium potatoes, boiled, & diced, well cooled
2 packages frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
2 small dill pickles, diced  (optional)
2 cups ham, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons dill, chopped  (fresh is best)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
3 small beets, sliced (canned are fine)
Lettuce leaves & radish for decoration

Boil the potatoes until just firm – when a fork goes in easily.  Boil the vegetables until just done. Combine the diced potatoes, vegetables, pickles, 2 tablespoons of dill and ham.  Season with salt and pepper but go easy on the salt because the ham’s natural saltiness.  Taste.  Fold in the mayonnaise and mustard and combine well.  Taste for final seasoning.  Serve in a pretty bowl or arrange in the form of a dome on a serving platter, garnished with the lettuce leaves.  Sprinkle the remaining chopped dill over the top.  Decorate creatively with the sliced eggs and beets.  Serve at room temperature.  Smacznego!