I love SPAM. Until recently, I would have said that I loved SPAM in all ways, but I now know there’s a limit to my love for SPAM.
A few months ago, I made some tempura for dinner with the usual ingredients: broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, onion, sweet potato, and some kind of white fish, and shrimp. Modesty aside, it was all pretty good. The next day, however, I fried up some SPAM for breakfast, and I thought I had an epiphany: SPAM tempura! I fixed it in my mind that the next time I made tempura, SPAM would be in the mix, too.
That day was Saturday. I prepped the veg and shrimp as per usual, and decided to cut the SPAM into fingers instead of planks. I couldn’t decide whether to dust the fingers with flour before dipping into the batter or just dip into the batter naked, so I did some of each. My tasting panel (Mrs. ricepad and Spawn2) preferred the fingers that had not been dusted with flour, because the flour made too much batter cling to the SPAM, but both versions looked pretty good. The batter fried up light golden brown and crispy, and smelled wonderful. When it came to eating it, the final and most important verdict: meh. It tasted like warm SPAM with a crispy coating.
SPAM fried in a dry pan is far better. Tempura SPAM is not worth the effort. Do not bother trying it, you’ll probably be disappointed. I’m glad I tried it, because had I not, my love for both SPAM and tempura would have me wondering what it’d be like, but now I know better. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all the leftover tempura SPAM. Maybe tempura SPAM donburi…?
Spam has its place. The grand-kids LOVE it. Pan-fried as part of a country breakfast. One irreverently whooped, “Spam? Is that that stuff that looks like dog-food? I LOVE that!” And three of them easily kill off a can and ask for more.
It’s an easy sub in pasta sauces, and obscenely good diced and baked in “mac, cheese and tomatoes”.
Well, it will be cold, so just about anything. It it cold. Chop up and put into fried rice. Make some sushi rice and have handrolls or gimbap or musubi. Take off the soggy tempura batter if it really bothers you.
The batter doesn’t bother me, but I’ve always felt that deep frying does something magical to food, something about that baptism in oil. I was surprised that it did absolutely nothing for SPAM, though. Didn’t make it better, didn’t make it worse. It just took up some time and effort for no net change. It’s the clearest culinary example of 1+1=1 I have ever seen. I’ve been snacking on them, cold, right from the fridge. Will probably do donburi for lunch tomorrow.
I would have thought it might have been a bit worse, because the best part of spam (to me anyway) is the congealed fat and collagen, which would start melting off. I don’t usually pan-fry it, just eat straight from the can.
I use SPAM from time to time, cube it, fry it, mix it with rice, then put sweet and sour sauce on top.
There is one store (here in the desert) that occasionally stocks scrapple, I prefer that over SPAM, but if I can’t get scrapple, then a close second choice is SPAM (when I want that rice dish with the sweet and sour sauce).
I think the issue is that whatever is inside of batter effectively steams when you deep fry. That’s good for many things, including vegetables, but definitely not for SPAM. It needs those crisp edges and some rendering, otherwise it’s just meat paste.
This has me thinking. I’m wondering if egg dipped, then rolled in panko crumbs, fingers of spam would be good in the air fryer?
As for your leftovers, I like the donburi idea, or as an addition to a bowl of udon noodles. I love Tabasco Spam in fried rice.
When we played in summer day camp, there was a score for getting close enough to, but not claiming by encircling, the stake. Of course, it’d be a rare camp these days that would teach/occupy kids with underhanded throwing shaped metal at a pole in the ground.