Here’s a side dish with a difference. The flavors are strong, sweet-and-tangy, and the black-eyed peas add a taste of the South. You’ll need the smoker for about a half-hour to season the ham and a half hour (or as long as overnight) to let the flavors meld.
Black-eyed Peas and Ham Macaroni Salad
1 12-ounce fully cooked ham steak, about 1/2-inch thick
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
12 ounces small shell macaroni, or other small shaped pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 1/2-2 cups fresh-cooked or canned black-eyed peas, drained
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet or other mild onion
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
6 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
A few splashes Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup minced parsley
Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200-220 degrees. Rub ham steak with mustard, brown sugar and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the ham to the smoker. Cook until the sugar has melted onto the surface and the ham is heated through and well-perfumed with smoke, about 20-25 minutes.
Stir together in a large bowl the macaroni, black-eyed peas, celery, onion and bell pepper. When the ham steak is ready, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, discarding fat and any bone. Add the ham to the macaroni mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and a little pepper vinegar, and pour over the salad. Toss to combine. Chill for 30 minutes or up to overnight. Stir the parsley into the salad shortly before serving (chilled).
Makes 4 servings
From “Smoke & Spice,” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison