One of my guilty pleasures is luncheon meat. As a child, my mother would sometimes serve me Spam sandwiches as an after-school snack. Just fried slices of Spam in between two slices of white bread. In the army, fried slices of luncheon meat were a frequent and not unwelcome option, served with rice, with noodles, and well, with just about whatever they were dishing out each day. I was thrilled to discover, after moving into a new office, that a coffee shop around the corner offers luncheon meat sandwiches as a breakfast option. But the best incarnation of luncheon meat that I have ever come across, and I’m damn upset I’ve only discovered this recently, is Spam fries.
Yup, luncheon meat chopped up into long skinny fries, fried until they’re crispy on the outside, and served with one or more dips. Disgustingly, sinfully, ridicously good. I had these with some friends one night over drinks at Wild Oats, the bar owned and run by Willin Low, and I just about fell off my chair. Within minutes of them being served–Willin serves his with a Kaffir Mayo–all conversation came to halt. When it finally started again, all we could talk about were these amazing fries, about how great they were, how unhealthy they were, how they revived childhood memories, how we really shouldn’t eat more than a just a couple, but damn, weren’t they just addictive.
Now, I know some of you are saying, “What? Luncheon meat? Eeeeeeeew, gross!” But seriously, while I know that “canned, precooked chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite to help keep its color” sounds less than appealing, it really does taste pretty darned good. And, you know what they say, don’t knock it until you try it.
Ever since my first Spam fry, I’ve been pestering Willin for his recipe. Of course, when he gave it to me, I had to laugh. The recipe really is as simple as deep-frying skinny pieces of luncheon meat until they’re nice and golden-brown — or in the case of luncheon meat, reddish-brown.
The recipe is below. I hope this brings you as much artery-clogging pleasure as it has me.
Willin Low’s Luncheon Meat Fries with Kaffir Mayo
1 can of maling luncheon meat
peanut oil for deep frying
1 large egg
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
2 kaffir lime leaves
Heat oil to about 185 degrees c. In the mean time, in a processor, add egg, lime juice, salt and pepper and process for about 15 sec, add the olive oil in a drizzle and then in a thin steady stream. Chop the kaffir lime leaves finely and mix well with the mayo. Set aside. Cut luncheon meat to strips about the size of fingers (or fries). Deep fry the “fries” in batches to ensure that the oil temperature does not drop drastically. Remove the fries when the colour is dark brown (the entire “fry” should be very crispy and right in the middle just a little moist.) Serve with the kaffir mayo!