Freakishly Good Ham and Cheese Spread

2 cups cubed smoked ham
8 oz brick extra sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup spicy garlic pickle chips
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 teaspoon paprika
freshly ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well distributed. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

*I used Heinz brand which is slightly sweet. Not normally my fave kind of pickle but really good with ham.

My thoughts:
My husband has to take a cold dinner to class once a week and that means that over the last year or so I have made so many cold sandwiches and cold pasta salads. You would not believe the amount of mayonnaise we go through. It is a little daunting coming up with something new every week. 
I had a bunch of ham leftover like so many of us do this time of year and thought I’d try to make something more exciting than a plain ham sandwich. I’ve made ham salad based on a great version a local German deli sells and I love pimento cheese so I thought why not combine the two? Rather than making a smooth mixture like I would for a ham salad, I left the ham chunky, added tons of shredded sharp cheddar and slightly sweet garlic hot pickles instead of pimentos. My husband loved it! Seriously, we were both surprised at how much we liked it. It was freakishly good. Neither of us particularly like that kind of pickle but it somehow it all really pulled together and make a truly excellent sandwich.

So this is my husband’s new favorite sandwich salad.  Is sandwich salad an accepted term? I always think of this sort of thing as a “ladies who lunch” salad after the fancy lunch places (usually in the south) that specialize in a “salad” plate that is really a variety of chicken salad, pimento cheese, tuna etc and populated by women who never seem in a hurry to get anywhere. 

It is easy to this sort of thing to be bland but using flavorful pickles, bright Dijon mustard, good quality smoked ham and extra sharp cheddar give it a rich savory flavor making this perfect for any lunch (or cold dinner!).

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