By Dave DeWitt
The Hallowed Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota
Your always adventurous editor was recently selected as the only judge at the annual Albuquerque Press Club Spam-Fest. At first I was apprehensive because Spam is not a favorite food of mine, but then the organizers promised free bar privileges, so I had no choice but to judge the contest. You might think that I would be put off by dishes named “Afghanispam,” “Spaminator,” and the ominous “Spamthrax,” but I just braced myself with another beer and began tasting. The creations were surprisingly good, and most of them contained some form of chile.
When I finished the tasting, rating each dish on a scale of one to ten for appearance and flavor, the clear winner was–“Holy Cow!–Its’a Spam Alfredo,” created by Naomi Castro-Hubbard. It turns out that Naomi is no stranger to this event, as she has entered it for the last ten years and has won first place on six occasions–each time with a different recipe. Naomi describes herself as a full-blooded New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent now living in New Mexico. Below is her original recipe.
Holy Cow–Its’a Spam Alfredo
1 can Spam, cut top to bottom in strips 2-inch wide and 1/4-inch deep
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed red chile (the hot stuff), or more to taste
1 tablespoon smashed garlic
1 carrot, julienned
6 green onions, julienned
1 small yellow zucchini, julienned
3 large mushrooms, sliced
1 20-ounce jar Ragu Alfredo Sauce
12-ounce package of thin spaghetti, cooked according to instructions and kept warm
In a large skillet, fry the Spam strips until browned; set aside. Add the butter and oil to the skillet and heat to medium. Add the crushed chile, garlic, and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add the green onions, zucchini, and mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring well.
Remove half of the vegetables and set aside. Add the alfredo sauce to the remaining vegetables and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. Mix in 1/2 the Spam and turn off the heat. Place the cooked spaghetti in a serving dish and pour the contents of the skillet over it. Arrange the rest of the vegetables and spam on top of the spaghetti and afredo sauce mixture in a wheel-like design.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Heat Scale: Medium