Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spam alert! Don't delete this post.

As a chef and also as a minority, I sometimes find myself a proponent of trying new things when my original intention was simply talking about my own experiences in food, rather than trying to be some radical extremist forcing my culinary ideas down the gullets of the uneducated. This is one of those times where I know my opinion is going to be reacted to with skepticism, horror, curiousity and outright resistance.

That's because today's ingredient is that infamous canned meat, SPAM. As someone who was first exposed to Spam at a young age without preconceptions of the meat hierarchy of right and wrong, I grew up very accepting of it and enjoying it on its merits. I've never understood the reasoning people have given me for why it is an unholy spawn: shape, color, texture, ability to be sliced too easily, being in a can. 

I've heard it, I've ignored it. The only reason not to eat it would be for health reasons, but that goes for so many other things I eat as well.

Oh yes, this is a recipe developed by my dad, so if you reject it you're intolerant and close-minded. That's all.

This recipe is beautiful in its simplicity.

Spam, onion, garlic, a bit of a chili pepper, and optionally some fish sauce. Ground pepper too if you feel like it.

So easy to slice, so giving toward any quality of knife! Oh spam, how I regret not opening you up in the Grand Canyon. In fact, how I regret not replacing all of the meat I brought with you instead due to an intolerant non-minority. But I digress. Each block is sliced in half, and then into smaller blocks. You get the idea.

This is put into a pot and covered with water, then brought to a boil, keeping it at a boil for 10 minutes.

And now we prep the onions, which for once isn't cut into fine dice.

The garlic is minced, the pepper is chopped a bit. A little goes a long way with those babies.

Once the spam has had sufficient sodium leached out of it from boiling (keep the broth if you can), it is tossed into a hot pan with just a dash of oil to start the caramelizing. A large spatula helps to toss the pieces around as their sides get browned.

The rest of the ingredients are added, perhaps with a bit of the broth, or plain water to create steam to help cook down the onion and garlic.

A dash of fish sauce to add umami and reintroduce salt.

And there you have it, the way I've enjoyed Spam since childhood. Serve with white rice!


2 cans of spam
1/4 cup of sliced onion
1-3 gloves of garlic, minced
Ground pepper
nib of hot chili pepper (optional)
Dash of fish or soy sauce (optional)

1. Cut Spam into blocks, roughly 32 - 40 a can (as seen above)
2. Cover spam pieces with water, bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.
3. Drain the spam pieces, reserving some of the broth.
4. Toss in a hot pan with a little bit of oil to develop a nice crust on as much of the spam as you can.
5. Add onion and nib of hot chili pepper and cook until partially soft.
6. Add the garlic and pour in a little bit of water for steam to cook down the onion and garlic.
7. Serve with rice and vegetables.

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