Whenever I tell people I’m making a Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with spaghetti and spam, I always see that same puzzled expression on their faces, usually followed by a very slow, unsure “okay.” I will admit, it is a little different and yet it is usually a big hit. You will always have those hold outs who refuse to see cold spaghetti noodles as anything else except cold spaghetti noodles, not very appealing. The Spam isn’t so much a part of the dish itself as it is a decorative garnish.
Spam is a stable in Hawaiian cooking– served in and with just about anything. The love affair of the Pacific Islands and Spam goes back to World War II. GIs were given Spam as part of their rations. It required no refrigeration, has a long shelf-life and fit nicely into a GI’s pack. During World War II, fifteen million cans of Spam were shipped out to the troops every week. That’s a lot of Spam! Eventually, the salty pressed chopped Ham found its way into the daily diets of the American territories – Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines. Hawaii consumes more Spam than any state in our union. We are talking upward of seven million cans a year. Spam is so popular throughout Hawaii that it’s been nicknamed the “Hawaiian steak” and is even found on the islands’ McDonald’s and Burger King menus. Only in Hawaii can you find the Spam Jam – a celebration of all things Spam held the last week in April. While the Spam in this dish is an optional ingredient it is key to the Salad’s connection to Hawaii.
Have I mentioned that in a prior life, I managed commercial property, and that one of those properties was a food court? Be it because of my love of all things food related or fascination with the restaurant equipment (wooden spoons that could be used to paddle a boat – floor standing mixers that look like home mixers on steroids), I liked hanging out in the commercial kitchens. As a result, many of the owner/chefs eventually became “friends”. Some of my recipes actually came from these hard-working people. My recipe for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a great example. It took a while to reduce the recipe to a home version of a salad recipe intended to serve large crowds.
I like to serve this salad alongside my Slow Roasted Kahlua Pig. Both recipes came from the same establishment and were designed to serve together. If you were to do an internet search for Hawaiian Macaroni salad, most of them are similar – using elbow or Macaroni pasta. This recipe uses Spaghetti, setting it somewhat apart from the crowd. I like that. Since I shared my Kahlua Pig with you today, I thought a side in addition to the rice would be nice.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
1 lb Spaghetti Noodles, cooked according to package directions
½ Cup Onion, diced (See note)
1 Bunch Green Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, grated
2 Celery Stocks, diced.
4-5 Hard-Boiled eggs
½ Cup Best Foods Mayonnaise (more if needed)
1 Dollop of Red or Orange Caviar (optional)
1 Can of Spam, cut into strips (Optional)
Note: If desired, reserve the bottom portion of three green onions, white to just below green part. Trim root end while leaving onion intact. Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the white portion, leaving attached to the bulb. Carefully open to create little onion “blooms” for additional garnish to the salad.
Break spaghetti noodles in half and cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse well under cold running water. Drain well.
In a large bowl, combine onions, green onions, carrots and celery. Add spaghetti noodles to vegetables and toss to blend.
Chop all but 1 egg, add to salad. With final egg, cut V lines to create a flower. Reserve one half of flower, chop other half and add to salad. Add mayonnaise and fold to coat all the ingredients.
Transfer macaroni salad to serving bowl, smooth out top for a flat finish. Place egg tulip in center of dish, pressing down lightly to keep tulip in place. If desired, for a little added color, place a dollop of caviar in the center of the tulip. Top the finished salad with spam in a spoke-wheel patter from egg. (Note: The Spam and caviar are purely optional but a nice touch). Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until well-chilled.