Cooking for one without dying of boredom is a challenge. I get tired of fixing the same old stuff — a universal problem for anyone who cooks much. I’m always on the lookout for new things to try. Last week, I picked up a can of Spam. Not just any Spam, mind you. This was pepper Spam. Fancy.
A dim memory of fried Spam on white bread slathered with mayo sparked my decision to drop Pepper Spam into my cart. I mentioned the purchase to mother, who retched a bit and then declared she’d hated Span since childhood. No way she ever fixed it for us. I must be thinking of the fried bologna sandwiches she fixed from time to time.
I’m pretty sure she made fried Spam sandwiches sometimes, but wouldn’t swear to it. Insisting she never fixed them didn’t bother me. Her memories and mine don’t always correspond, but swearing she’d hated Spam since childhood did give me pause. Water under the bridge.
So what do do with it? My search for recipes turned up a wide variety of options. I settled on a “spam-ghetti” caronara — quick, easy, and I had all the ingredients.
Doubt crept in when I opened the can. Nothing about the gelatinous blob inside was appetizing. Food shouldn’t make the sound this stuff makes as it glomps out of the can.
Rather than using the whole can (as directed), I diced only about a fourth which I then sauteed in some olive oil. The aroma was decidedly off-putting. Though the recipe didn’t call for anything else, I added green pepper, onions, and fresh mushrooms.
The final step was to mix the cooked pasta, sauteed Spam, and two raw eggs together and serve. The thought of raw eggs in no way enhanced the appeal of the dish. I added them into the sautee pan, let it cook a little longer, and then stirred in the pasta. A sprinkling of grated Parmesan on the top finished the dish.
The verdict? Delicious — except for the nasty pepper Spam. Now I remember why I haven’t bought any for a good 20 years. Fortunatley, the cubes were big enough to eat around without too much trouble.
I’ll make the pasta again. Next time I’ll use chicken or shrimp or even bologna. No more Spam forme.