While working my way through college I was a cook during the summer months at a local fishing resort. One of the things I learned to make on the menu was ham salad sandwiches. I served them with plain white bread, topped with iceberg lettuce, a scoop of potato salad, a handful of chips and a dill pickle. The ham salad that I was taught to make in the restaurant was with ground up leftover ham butts, miracle whip, celery and dill pickle relish. Few people ordered them. Quite frankly, I thought those sandwiches were freaking gross. Each time I made one of those sandwiches, I always thought there should be a better way to make these. At the time, I just didn’t know how.
It’s been many years since I finished college and I no longer work in a restaurant. Just the other day I was thinking about my old job at the resort and just how much I love the taste of ham. I thought of those little nasty ham salad sandwiches that I used to make and then I began the mission on how to improve upon that recipe. After imagining different combination of flavors, I think I nailed it. I call it my “Sweet Chili Ham Salad Sandwiches”. It’s a mix of one of sweet chili sauce (my favorite), tossed with savory ham, crunchy celery, bright red bell peppers, thinly sliced green onion and a bit of light mayo. I top it off with thin cucumber slices, red onion, tomato and fresh picked lettuce, and serve it on honey wheat berry bread. It’s absolutely delicious! This ham salad is tasty, colorful and is budget friendly. This sweet chili ham salad can be served on French bread toasts or on the tips of endive spears for a quick appetizer. Enjoy! – Tessa
3/4 lb. ham, cubed (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 c. light mayonnaise
2 Tbls. sweet chili sauce
2 Tbls. thinly sliced green onions
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
8 slices honey wheat berry bread
8 tomato slices
12 cucumber slices (thin)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
8 lettuce leaves
Let’s begin. Put your ham in a food processor. Pulse until the ham is chopped (about 10 pulses). Don’t puree it… Put chopped ham in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add mayo, sweet chili sauce, green onion, celery and red bell pepper. Mix well.
Assemble the sandwiches by laying out 4 slices of bread. Add a scoop of the Sweet Chili Ham Salad, layer on the tomato, cucumber, red onion and lettuce. Top with remaining bread slice. Cut in half. Serve! Makes 4 tasty sandwiches.