On a recent visit to Cagayan de Oro, our hosts gifted us with a pack of smoked, cooked pork ham.
Seasoned with spices, wine and pineapple, the ham was delicious. It wasn’t too salty like other hams and had its own unique flavor, savory with just the slightest sweetness.
It had just the right amount of fat, making each slice moist and tender.
After I made three ham sandwiches, I still had plenty of ham left. So I decided to use it for macaroni salad I was preparing that day. The ham added some cache to the salad, giving it a newness in flavor.
Now that classes have started, you may want to consider making this salad as baon for the kids. You can prepare it the night before, then spoon it into individual cups.
Keep the cups of macaroni salad chilled in the refrigerator until it’s time to pack them into lunch bags. Be sure to cover the cups with lids so the macaroni salad doesn’t spill.
For a complete meal, include pan de sal, crackers or bread sticks.
Macaroni ham salad
500 g elbow macaroni
Water, for boiling the macaroni
2 ½ c mayonnaise
2 c pineapple tidbits (well-drained)
2 c sliced ham (preferably from Cagayan de Oro, or use other nonsalty ham)
2 c raisins
1 c grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp sugar
Salt, to taste
Boil the macaroni in enough water to cover, until al dente, around 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the macaroni and let cool completely.
Spoon the mayonnaise into a large mixing bowl and fold in the pineapple tidbits, ham, raisins, cheese and the cooled elbow macaroni. Add the sugar and season with salt to taste. Blend well. Chill a few hours in the refrigerator.
If serving as baon for lunch: Spoon the macaroni salad into individual paper or plastic cups and cover the cups with lids. Pack into lunch bags.
To cool the elbow macaroni faster (after it has been boiled), drain it in a colander, then pour ice cold water over the macaroni, stirring the macaroni with a spoon for even cooling.
You can use more cheese or pineapple tidbits, ham and raisins if desired.
This salad is also an appropriate side dish when serving fried chicken, and barbecue chicken or pork.