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Chef Dave's Seared Ham Steak Salad With Bibb Lettuce


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  • 1 large sweet potato - (abt 3/4 lb) rinsed, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • SALAD:
  • 4 ham steaks, 3/4" thk - (abt 3/4 lb ea)
  • 2 heads Bibb lettuce split lengthwise, gently washed to keep the leaves attached
  • to the stems, and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar - (packed)


Servings 4


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the sweet potato on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until tender and the syrupy sugars start to break through the skin, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Cut a slit down the potato and remove the peel.

Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Remove from the heat.

Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Add the hot cream and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Combine the sweet potato, warm sugar mixture, vinegar, bourbon, shallots, pepper, allspice and salt in the barrel of a food processor and puree for 30 seconds. Gradually pulse in the oil through the feeder tube in the top. Keep warm.

In a large skillet over high heat, sear the ham steak until golden brown and caramelized on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Place the ham steaks on serving plates, then arrange a lettuce half, cut-side up, on top of each ham steak. Sprinkle with the Candied Pecans. Drizzle 2 ounces of the warm dressing over the salad and ham steak. Serve immediately. (Leftover dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

Candied Pecans: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring, until golden brown and toasted, 3 minutes. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a piece of waxed paper to cool. (Makes 1/2 cup)

This recipe yields 4 servings.

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