Chef Q+A: SPAM
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
We sat down with our owner, Sarah, to ask her some questions about SPAM!
HAVE YOU ALWAYS LOVED SPAM?
No! I would consider myself a born-again SPAM-lover. I had actually never eaten SPAM until about 2017. One of my former Chefs asked me to use it in family meal (staff meal). I was new to the crew, on top of the fact that I had never used the stuff! I admitted that I was not familiar with SPAM, and I am so glad I did! I got a full lesson in deliciousness that day and I have never looked back!
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SPAM?
This is a two-part answer!
1) I feel like there is a generational divide with SPAM. Older generations remember having it for dinner (maybe a bit too often). I remember my dad telling me how my Grandma would use SPAM as a topping when they would make Chef Boyardee pizza. Hearing my father tell stories like this with *less than excitement* in his voice, I developed this stigma around SPAM that was completely dependent on other's opinions. I think that is a rather common occurrence, and one that I would love to change. I think it is our responsibility as Cooks to share with people amazing meals, and some well kept secrets like SPAM!
2) I think the modernization of grocery store delis has seen a lot of people going to the meat counter over reaching for canned pork. It's a luxury that comes with advancements in refrigeration, but sometimes the classics are still there for a reason! I think there are also classist-perceptions of SPAM that are completely unnecessary. As I think we have all seen, taste does not always match the dollar-amount of one's wealth. Just because an ingredient is inexpensive does not mean the flavor or the meal will suffer! I am strictly in the camp of "it-must-taste-good-before-it-can-look-good" when it comes to food; and I think SPAM is the perfect example of how something inexpensive can become the star of a dish. I implore people to be adventurous and try new things! You never know what you may actually fall in love with!
WHY SHOULD I HAVE SPAM IN MY PANTRY?
I will answer this question with another question: WHY NOT?!
In all seriousness, you should have SPAM because it will be there for you whenever you need it! The shelf-life alone should be enough of an argument, but if not I will go on.
It is an AMAZING source of both flavor and protein. They have something like 18 varieties of SPAM nowadays - get creative! I am in love with the Bacon SPAM because I eat anything smoked and it instantly makes everything taste more complex! Teriyaki SPAM is another favorite of mine. It makes the most amazing SPAM Musubi or stir-fry!
As a rule of thumb: If a recipe has ham in it, you can probably substitute SPAM! I take it a bit further: If you have a carbohydrate, you could probably add fried SPAM to it. What does that mean? Noodles - add SPAM. Rice - add SPAM. Veggies - add SPAM. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO SPAM RECIPE?
I have a few, none of which are remotely related to Sushi MO! (lol)
My #1 go-to would probably have to be:
Alton Brown's Stovetop Mac & Cheese with SPAM bits added!
-Small dice 1 can of SPAM (I personally love the Bacon SPAM with this recipe),
-Fry it in a pan with 1/4" of vegetable oil until golden brown,
-Strain the SPAM onto a towel to absorb the excess grease,
-Make Mac & Cheese as directed,
-Fold in SPAM when ready to eat!
Another one of my favorite ways to eat SPAM is with Breakfast!
Fried SPAM with Eggs
-Cut SPAM into 1/4"-thick slices
-Sear in nonstick pan on both sides until golden brown
(I like to use a weight to ensure maximum searing)
-Remove SPAM from pan & rest on towel (let the juices drain)
-Cook eggs however you desire in same pan (using the grease from the SPAM as your fat)
-Plate your meal & DIG IN!
Thanks for tuning in for all of the fun we had this week with SPAM!
We will continue the Pantry Raid fun next week with our next topic: RICE!