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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The ubiquitous ham--and Palmetto cheese

I've always liked ham,  though it's not something I serve often. I don't want those pre-fab hams that admit, "Water added." I want the good old bone-in, butt end of a ham, thinly sliced, often for Easter and served with potato salad, scalloped potatoes, even a potato casserole--just not mashed potatoes. But over the years, my family has not shared my fondness for ham--they eat it, but I usually end up with way too much left over. Freezing it is the kiss of death, because even though I use a Food-Saver, it never tastes the same. The only exception, of course, is the ham bone which makes wonderful soup or a pot of beans.
But lately I've become almost addicted to Oscar Mayer deli-sliced ham--smallish, round slices, very thin. If you're avoiding bread, as I mostly am, you can do ham roll-ups. Roll it around cream cheese--my daughter, Jordan, does that with turkey but scorns the ham. Or I like it paired with a slice of provolone and just a bit of Thousand Island dress (homemade is best and it's so easy--ketchup, mayo, pickle relish, and you've got it).
But I'm also fond of pimiento cheese, and that's a new fondness for this northern girl. I never tasted the stuff till I was in Texas, and at first would tell you "No, thanks. I don't like peppers in any form." But a few years ago I made some with just enough cayenne to give it a bite, and I loved it. Trouble was the recipe made so much, I ultimately had to pitch some. Jordan, having not grown up on it because her nothern mother, transplanted to Texas, never served it, still wouldn't try it. I still don't like my pimiento cheese sweet. My friend Melinda makes it with Siracha sauce--probably too hot for me.
Then I discovered Palmetto cheese, "The pimiento cheese with soul," made in the Low country of South Carolina but available in many grocery stores. It has a definite bite to it--Central Market where I shop carries the original, with jalopeno (I avoid that--original is hot enough), and a new one--with bacon. Put a dab of that in the middle of three slices of ham, and you have a scrumptious lunch.
The Palmetto Web site suggests lots of uses--mac and cheese, cheese, grits, stuffed jalopenos wrapped with bacon, deviled eggs--they even have a cookie recipe that calls for the cheese and ground pecans in the dough, then wrapped arounda filling of jam or preserves (haven't tried that!). I think it has some cream cheese in it that makes is spreadable. But take my word, it's good stuff.
Yes, Jordan, you could probably make a turkey roll-up of it. Ham just sounds better to me.
Next I"m about to try Cleo Coyle's BBQ Chipped Ham (Mystery Lovers' Kitchen)--leery of the combination of BBQ and ham, but hey, it's ham and I'll try it. And Cleo Coyle usually has good recipes.


  1. Very nice and authentic preparation :) Thanks for the Recipes

  2. Looks delicious Judy! You should share that on our Facebook page. We love to see how everyone uses Palmetto Cheese.