Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Asian Ham Salad

Just the title alone should not turn you off of this recipe!  Yes, it sounds a little weird.  Looking at the list of ingredients may also make you question my sanity (and the sanity of my sister and mother, who made me this recipe last week when we were all together in Texas).  It's delicious though, and I bet you could try this with either cooked chicken or beef to give it a different twist.  It was still good the next day straight out of the refrigerator.

For the life of me I can't remember what my mom served as a side dish, so when I made it for Corey last night I just told him to hush when he asked what else we were having.  He quieted down when he tasted the salad, and the two of us devoured this entire recipe in one sitting.  We figured that the ice cream cones we had for dessert got us the dairy food group to make it a complete meal.  Yes, there are a lot of asterisks after the ingredients, but the recipe was pretty vague and I wanted to let you know how I interpreted each instruction.  The original recipe called for only one cup of rice, but my mom and I thought that was too skimpy.  It was also my idea to add the cilantro to the recipe because I'm pretty sure just about every recipe could be improved with cilantro.  Okay, maybe not brownies, but you get the idea.

Here is a photo of the salad as we made it at my mom's house.  Those are her gorgeous granite countertops -- not mine!

Asian Ham Salad

2 cups brown rice, cooked*
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame**
1 cup chopped ham steak***
6 sliced radishes****
2 thinly sliced green onions
handful of cilantro leaves*****
crushed peanuts******

2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes*******
salt and pepper to taste

Cool the rice and edamame to room temperature.  Whisk the dressing ingredients together.  Just before serving, toss the salad ingredients with the dressing.

* This means to have about 2 cups AFTER cooking.  If you cooked 2 cups of uncooked rice, you would have 4 cups of cooked rice and that would just craziness.

** I steamed my edamame in the shells and then shelled them, but my mom boiled already shelled edamame, I think.  Both tasted great.  Yes, I hate beans but like edamame.  I have to pretend they are not beans.  Please don't tell me I'm wrong.  DON'T SPOIL THE ONLY FORM OF LEGUME I WILL VOLUNTARILY EAT, OKAY?

*** I got this near the cold cuts, but I bet it would be even better if you got it from the butcher and chopped it yourself.  I also want to try this with chicken or beef, because I bet it would be awesome.

**** I chopped up about 4 radishes because they're not my favorite veggie.  I really couldn't taste them in the salad, but Corey said he could.  They add a nice crunch if they're sliced instead of chopped, which is how my mom made it.  Next time I make this, I want to add sliced celery, because I bet it would be terrific.

***** I chopped my leaves, but I bet they would be good whole, too.

****** The recipe didn't specify how much of these, so I crushed about a half cup of dry roasted peanuts (I probably should have used regular old peanuts, but I wanted to have better-tasting ones left over for snacks!).

******* I used red cayenne pepper because that's all I had and I wasn't sure how it was different.  I also probably used more like 1/8 of a teaspoon because I'm a huge wimp when it comes to spicy things, but I don't think the salad was spicy when my mom made it with the properly-measured amount.