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Monday, January 10, 2011

The Great Spam Experiment

So I told you that my cousin Johanna requested a few things when we met for brunch in November.  The first one being Chicken Braciole with Alfredo Sauce.  The second one being this...the great Spam experiment!

Yes, that's right folks......we are talking Spam today....   Hey... Wait!  Where do you think you are going?  Seriously, get back here right now and finish reading this post.  I don't care what your feelings on Spam are.. this is a damn good experiment!!  LOL

Ok, now that I have your attention again....let's talk Spam.  When I was a kid, my grandma Marge would always make us Spam sandwiches, or just plan pan fried Spam.  I remember loving it as a kid.  As I got older, the only time I ever tried it was while on a backpacking trip...I ate it because it was there and I was STARVING!!  But I was in my early 20's when that last happened (I learned to bring better food with us, believe me!!) and, well...that's been quite a few years, so I will admit that I was a bit worried about trying this out.   I'm glad I did though, not only did it reminded of some great childhood memories, but I really did an actual experiment in my kitchen!! YAY!!!  (By the way, for anyone that looks down on me for posting a recipe that includes Spam... all I have to say is this:  Can the whole state of Hawaii really be wrong?  They serve Spam everywhere.. even at Burger King!)

The first test was the old school way.  The way my grandma made it for us...or at least the way I remember her making it for us....straight up pan fried.  I'm not even going to give you a recipe for it because all I did was throw it directly into a non-stick skillet and fried them for about 3-4 minutes on each side:
What did we think?  Well, honestly, it was ok, just a bit salty....and this is a fact that I remembered and was not surprised about at all.  I don't mind the salty pork flavor, so it really wasn't too bad at all.

With my second test, I decided that I would boil the meat first to get some of the saltiness out of it (I got that little tip from Stephen over at The Obsessive Chef, check out what he did with Spam!!).  It worked like a charm!  If I was going to do this again, that would be the only way I would eat the Spam...boiled first, than fried!  Johanna had suggested doing a panko coating and than frying the Spam... and I thought, heck, if I'm gonna do that, why not make it sort of like Spam Parmigiana?  And Viola!
I will admit, I thought it was actually pretty good.  I would even make this again...truth be told, I'd even serve it to guests at a dinner party!

Conclusion:  I recommend trying Spam again if it's been awhile.  But, what I also recommend is boiling the Spam first.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Well, that's if you are afraid of the salty flavor...if you like a little salty pork (which I do) than just throw it right in the pan.  If you try the parmigiana, though, definitely take the few minutes to boil the meat, you will not be sorry.

Spam Parmigiana
Inspired by Johanna W.
Printable Recipe 
4-6 slices of Spam (you can cut them however thick or thin you want them)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon plain or seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning (you can just use basil if you don't have this)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons of your favorite pasta sauce (you can use more if you want)
shredded mozzarella cheese (you be the judge on how much goes on top of each piece)

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Drop the pieces of Spam into the water, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the meat sit in the water for another 3-5 minutes.

In a shallow dish, mix together panko, bread crumbs, pepper, salt, and Italian seasoning.  Remove the meat from the water and put it directly into the panko mixture.  Coat each piece with the mixture, pressing into the meat.

Preheat the broiler of the oven.  In a skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Carefully place the Spam pieces in the oil and quickly fry (about 2 minutes on each side).  Remove from skillet and place on a wire rack inside a baking sheet.  Top with sauce and cheese and place under the broiler.  Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Chicken Fried Steak 


Big Dude said...

I didn't grow up on fried Spam, but rather fried Treet, which was propably cheaper and I've always liked the canned ham. I ocassionally open a can of Spam, dust with rub and toss in the smoker, then slice and fry, topped with a slice of cheddar after flipping. Served on a sandwich or topped with a fried egg is pretty good eats for me. Your parmigina dish sounds very good and thanks for the de-salting tip.

Angie's Recipes said...

Spam Parmigiana...that's a great idea. I don't think we have SPAM here...but I can try with something similar.

SnoWhite said...

Wow... I'm impressed.

We live not far from the spam capitol, and I was just informed it's like gold in much of Europe and Morocco.

As pretty as it looks, I'll have to pass... I just can't stomach spam.

StephenC said...

Spam parmigiana, what an excellent idea. Of course Peter would probably rather not have me do it. But, wait, he's away this weekend. Heh, heh, heh.

Val said...

I grew up eating spam and I love it fried....I love this.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Wow that fried SPAM looks pretty good! I haven't tried SPAM since I was about 8 yrs old. that was a LONG time ago LOL! Great desalting tip, if I ever get brave & try SPAM I'll remember that :)

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Oh wow!!! Spam parm. I'm speechless. Do they sell spam in the store? I have to admit, I've never tried Spam but it does kinda look good.

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

Pam said...

I am impressed... I just haven't had the courage to eat spam.

Michael Toa said...

I actually like spam. I had them when I was a kid and I just really like the salty taste. I haven't had spam for a while though, so the next time I'm at the store, I'll pick up a can and try this recipe. Good call with the panko breadcrumbs for more crunch. yum.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

I love you defending Spam. It is a national treasure...or past time...or something, right? And you even take it gourmet here - LOVE it!

© said...

As Jenn's taste tester I must admit; I thought this would be gross; it's actually really good considering it's Spam. In fact I hadn't had Spam since childhood and was surprised at how tasty it is. My memory of the taste was not accurate. The key to this 'experiment' was definitely de-salting it a bit.

egbkid said...

I've never had Spam. In fact, i don't even think i have seen it in the grocery store...but i am sure it is there somewhere! Maybe something new to try...

Cranberry Morning said...

Not bad for Spam, that's for sure, but I'm leaning toward the Chicken Braciole with Alfredo sauce. :-)

Mary said...

...and who said you can't play with your food :-). You sound happy with your experiment and that's what counts. The real test is if you'd do this again. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Chris said...

Spam Parmigiana, 10x funny! Excellent job.

But my favorite spam is smoked! It's not totally horrible, ha ha.

MBrutus said...

For all the so called hatred of this amazing "meat" it's funny that millions of cans of it are sold every year for many years. Me thinks that there are lots and lots and lots of secret spam eaters out there. It's time for them to come out of the close and admit that they like spam. HEHEH

Jenn said...

LOL... I agree with you 100% MBrutus!

Anonymous said...

There's an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H titled, "Too Many Cooks", in which one of the injured soldiers, a chef in civilian life, prepares Spam Parmigiana for the doctors. They are so impressed that they try to have him transferred from his infantry unit to their medical unit to become their cook.

Being a big fan of the show and an enthusiastic cook I decided to make it (I'd never even purchased a can of Spam before this). It was tasty, but too salty. So I did a search and found your blog. If I ever try it again, I'll take your advice and boil the Spam first!