I haven’t taken many vacations since graduating high school but if I were to venture anywhere now, it would be a coin toss between Australia and Hawaii.
Sunlit Pacific beaches seem like the ideal venue for the sort of exotic food experiences a cook like me often craves but above all, I’d really like to try my luck with surfing. With important factors keeping me glued to The Rock, I don’t think I’ll be catching any Pacific swells anytime soon, but there’s no reason to go without the daydream inducing Pacific foods with a little knowhow and a good grocery store.
My friend Graham lives in Honolulu and in our scattered correspondence we’ve exchanged more than a few good recipes for our local traditional cuisine. He’s send me an amazing recipe for lomi salmon and after trying it and loving it I would send my own recipe for pan fried salmon and maple scallops, for example.
The recipe that Graham sent me for brined and slow-cooked pineapple ham is the most succulent kind of swine I’ve ever tasted (especially when fried the next day for breakfast) and if you happen to have a slowcooker or crockpot at home, I highly urge you to try it out!
Hawaiian Brined Pineapple Ham
For the Brine:
4 litres of pineapple juice
2 cups brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, crushed
5 bay leaves
1 ½ cups soya sauce
¾ cup salt
3 tbsp chili flakes/powder
1 cup honey or maple syrup
For the Ham:
1 large picnic ham (6 lbs or more)
1 can of pineapple rings
1 can crushed pineapple
1 tbsp honey
2 cups leftover brine
¼ cup diced bacon, raw
2 cups of thinly sliced potatoes (optional)
Prepare and mix all brine ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a quick boil, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Using a large kitchen or chef knife, deeply cut along the ham about ¼ of the way through on 4 sides and submerge in brine for 16-24 hours. Place ham in a slow cooker and ladle out 2 cups of brine over your ham. Evenly coat the ham in crushed pineapple and secure pineapple rings to the surface of the ham with toothpicks until surface is covered. Crumble diced bacon over top and along with honey. Add potato slices along the sides of the ham if desired. Cook in a slow cooker set at medium heat for 6 – 8 hours or until meat flakes away easily with a fork.
Serve immediately or keep refrigerated for future fried ham breakfasts.
Tasting this sweet and salty ham at home in Dover only made me all the more envious of Graham who currently enjoys cooking traditional Hawaiian foods for a very prosperous restaurant and resides on pristine beachfront property. The pictures I sometimes get from my Hawaiian friend pair great with the food from his recipes, but hopefully sometime soon I get to experience both bits of paradise for real. Until then,