Ham Salad Sandwich

Grilled Ham Steak, Mayo, Dill Pickle, Pepper

As creative as I like to believe I can be, I try to never forget that I'm not able to succeed and progress in the many things I do without being able to stay grounded in the basics.

Sp when I friend defended her appreciated of the oft-maligned (by me, at least) ham salad, I deigned to make my first one in decades, following her respectfully and respectable simple recipe, calling only for ham (I grilled a ham steak and then diced it), dill pickle, mayo, and black pepper.

The result was impressively outstanding, reminding me of why and how I (long ago) first appreciated the ham salad sandwich, and how I still need to "get out of my own way", as every other idea I had for this recipe —jalapeños, scallions, fresh tarragon(?!) — would have destroyed what should be a traditionally delicious homage to American food iconography.

Along with dishes like green bean casserole (and others usually found earnestly in mid-American mags like Redbook and Family Circle), the ham salad never needs for reinvention — conversely, forcing me to reinvent myself as a chef by re-reminding me the importance of sticking hard to the basics when that's all that's needed to make something great.