Grilled Ham Steaks with Southern Kale Salad

Sometimes a good idea appears out of thin air. Other times it comes from an inspired experience. Recently I ate my very first RAW kale salad. Why had I never eaten kale in it’s natural state before? I have no idea. I guess tradition is the culprit.

Nutrient rich kale is a veggie I’ve cooked many times. I’ve steamed, stewed, even baked kale, but never eaten it raw.

Until last week that is, when I had lunch with a friend and we both ordered our meal with a side of kale salad. I had no preconceived notion of what to expect. When my plate arrived, it was piled with ribbons of shredded greens.

Although the salad was mediocre, the IDEA was  brilliant. Raw kale was definitely something I would have to play with at home.

Now, I try to be a good southern girl… often with little success.  Growing up in a straight-forward Midwestern family, “genteel” and ‘prim” took second fiddle to “hard work”  and “direct honesty.” I’m ok with that. Yet now that I live in the South, I strive to achieve Southern greatness in the kitchen, even if I’ll never achieve it in manner.

So when it came time to experiment with raw greens, I went with subtle Southern flair. What’s more Southern than ham, cornbread and greens?

This is how I did it: I shaved (sliced) the kale into ultra thin ribbons.

I rubbed the ham with brown sugar, cumin and coriander to give it a smokey kick. Then grilled it for a couple minutes per side.

Next I toasted crumbled cornbread and roughly chopped almonds to provide contrast for the kale.

Finally I dressed the salad with a bright citrus vinaigrette made with orange zest, orange juice, honey, chive and almond oil.

The verdict? Yum. Double yum. Yum with a southern twist, Ya’ll. Salty, sweet, crunchy, zesty plate of Kale-icious yum! *smile*

Raw kale is a winner. You’ve got to try this at home.

Cook’s Notes: Don’t salt the ham. It tends to be salty enough on it’s own.

Ham steaks are also precooked, so the grilling is simply for texture and appearance–don’t over do it!

I used whole raw almonds in the kale salad and roughly chopped them, but you could substitute slivered almonds.

I ADORE almond oil, but any mild flavored oil will work for the vinaigrette.

I used store-bought corn muffins for the salad.


Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Grilled Ham Steaks with Southern Kale Salad


For the Ham:
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tb. cumin
1 ½ Tb. coriander
½ tsp. black pepper
4-6 Thick cut ham steaks

For the Salad:
1 large bunch of kale
2 corn muffins or cornbread squares, crumbled into large chunks
¾ cup roughly chopped almonds
2 Tb. butter

For the Dressing:
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 Tb. rice vinegar
¼ cup almond oil (or veg. oil)
1 Tb. honey
1 Tb. fresh chopped chive
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper


Preheat the grill to medium and preheat a large skillet to medium-high.

Mix the brown sugar, cumin, coriander and pepper. In a small bowl, rub the mixture on both sides of each ham steak. Set aside.

Shred the kale into (very) thin strips. Place the kale in a large serving bowl.

Place the ham steaks on the grill for about 3 minutes per side—or just until grill marks form. Remove and tent with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, add the butter to the skillet. Pour in the crumbled cornbread and chopped almonds. Gently move around the pan until toasted—5 minutes.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together for the vinaigrette. Toss the kale with your desired amount of vinaigrette. Then top with the toasted cornbread and almonds.

Best if served immediately.

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47 Responses to “Grilled Ham Steaks with Southern Kale Salad”

  1. #
    5 Star Foodie — April 14, 2011 @ 6:03 am

    Very interesting to experiment with raw kale, grilled ham steaks sound awesome to pair with the salad.


  2. #
    Nisrine M. — April 14, 2011 @ 5:11 am

    Gorgeous photos. Make me wish I were there for this meal.


  3. #
    Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} — April 14, 2011 @ 6:05 am

    That looks DIVINE!


  4. #
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — April 14, 2011 @ 6:15 am

    I’ve never eaten kale raw, either, but why not! Sounds like a delicious salad.


  5. #
    Jason — April 14, 2011 @ 6:37 am

    Those ham steaks and kale salad look absolutely delicious. People definitely do not do enough Ham steaks and they do really well on the grill.


  6. #
    Kate — April 14, 2011 @ 6:42 am

    This looks delicious! I don’t even like kale and your photos make me think that mayvbe I really do like it or should at least give it another try!


  7. #
    Dan — April 14, 2011 @ 6:44 am

    That looks like a great rub for the ham. mmm!


  8. #
    Kelly — April 14, 2011 @ 6:45 am

    This looks delicious and I absolutely LOVE your blog!! I will definitely be a frequent visitor :)


  9. #
    melissa@IWasBornToCook — April 14, 2011 @ 7:10 am

    This looks fantastic!


  10. #
    pam — April 14, 2011 @ 7:14 am

    Raw kale!!! Genius!


  11. #
    Kristen — April 14, 2011 @ 7:26 am

    It’s a beautiful meal. Is raw kale bitter? I love the idea of using it as a new green in a salad, but my iceberg loving family may have issues if it’s really strong.


  12. #
    Fresh and Foodie — April 14, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    This salad looks great. I love kale and eat it raw pretty often, but I’ve also had it semi-raw (I guess that’s what you’d call it) where it’s blanched for a second to take some of that hearty edge off. I happen to like kale for that reason, but I can see why others may not.

    Really like this recipe. Thanks for sharing.


  13. #
    Jennifurla — April 14, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Looks like a kick butt meal to me overall, we dont eat enough ham in my house.


  14. #
    Belinda @zomppa — April 14, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    Beautiful meal! Kale is fantastic…and I am hard pressed to ever pass on a ham steak.


  15. #
    Cécy — April 14, 2011 @ 9:59 am

    Yum, this looks great.
    I haven’t made a kale salad yet, but I do use some raw one straight from the garden into a smoothie. Or an other favorite for breakfast is toasted bread, egg, goat cheese and a leaf of raw kale.

    I think I’m going to try your salad this week-end, we have a bunch of kale in the yard, now on to making cornbread.


  16. #
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert — April 14, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    This is wonderfully inspired! The orange flavor must be fantastic on Kale. I’ve eaten it raw but bet it is great served with all your fixin’s. Great creation!


  17. #
    Sprinkled With Flour — April 14, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    Now I really want some ham. I love finding new ways to fix favorite cuts of meat, and this is a great one to try!


  18. #
    Parsley Sage — April 14, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

    Kale-icious indeed. This looks stunningly yummy. Thanks for doing the legwork on this :)


  19. #
    Maris (In Good Taste) — April 14, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

    What fabulous photos! Everything looks so good!


  20. #
    Anna — April 14, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    I love kale salad, we eat kale or collar greens raw in Brazil. Your dish looks fabulous, corn bread and ham….what great combo.


  21. #
    Nelly Rodriguez — April 14, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    I’ve never had raw Kale and I don’t think you can find it here, but I will try it someday! By the way, your pictures are simply gorgeous.


  22. #
    Claudia — April 14, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    I love kale salads – but no one else here does. Maybe with that delicious dressing? The spiced ham steaks are perfect! Lovely change from mine.


  23. #
    Kita — April 14, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    My momma used to make ham steaks for us. They always bring back memories. I love kale – love. I have got to try this.


  24. #
    Aldy — April 14, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

    What a MOUTH-WATERING dish ! Great combination, Sommer :)



  25. #
    Angie's Recipes — April 15, 2011 @ 2:00 am

    This is something I would love to try too.
    Photos are simply mouthwatering!


  26. #
    Ilke — April 15, 2011 @ 5:22 am

    I think this is good, healthy dose of southernness!(is this a word?) now I will head over to rk page to vote. Go Asheville Team!


  27. #
    Liz — April 15, 2011 @ 5:37 am

    Gosh, I never would have thought to eat kale raw, either…glad you have this wonderful recipe to share :)


  28. #
    Emily @Cleanliness — April 15, 2011 @ 7:16 am

    This is beautiful. I love this recipe.


  29. #
    Geni — April 15, 2011 @ 7:30 am

    I’ve never had raw kale before…only cooked it in the skillet or baked it. You’ve convinced me to try it raw with your delicious looking salad! And the ham steaks looks pretty delicious as well!


  30. #
    carolinaheartstrings — April 15, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    Wow is all I can say. You did good Midwestern/Southern girl!


  31. #
    sonia — April 15, 2011 @ 10:55 am

    Hi Sommer, This is looking absolutely delightful. Very nicely made and presented. I wud love to give it a shot on the coming weekend… Have a great day !


  32. #
    Maria @ Scandifoodie — April 15, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

    I actually really like raw kale! This sounds so tasty with almonds and almond oil!


  33. #
    sweetlife — April 15, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    my hubby loves ham steak, but I should try raw kale..thanks for sharing!!



  34. #
    Lora @cakeduchess — April 15, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    Gorgeous Southern meal, Sommer:) That ham has gotten me hungry and craving a piece. I never ate raw kale. I always add it my bean soups or in a pasta dish. Thank you for sharing delicious recipe:)


  35. #
    Kankana — April 15, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

    you got me convinced .. I have to make this kale salad… :)


  36. # — April 16, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    Oh wow, that looks scrumptious!! I could dive into that! I am a sucker for Ham Steaks… so good!!


  37. #
    Lea Ann — April 16, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    well…..alright, I’ll give raw kale a try. :-) Now for that ham steak, I’ll give you a definite yum double yum


  38. #
    Eileen — April 17, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    I love grilled ham steak. Now, the raw kale is a different story. It’s more the rough texture I don’t care for than the flavor. I have texture issues – lol… I love the grace and charm associated with the South. I’m afraid to admit I don’t have much of either :)


  39. #
    sonia — April 17, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

    Hi Soma, The salad is looking so vibrant. Very nicely made and presented. Its always fun to see ur appetizing recipes. I wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day !


  40. #
    sonia — April 17, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    Hi Sommer,
    Oops dear, by mistake wrote incorrect name, my due apologies to you…regards, MCF !!!


  41. #
    Monet — April 17, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    My oh my! What we’ve been missing! Ryan loves to eat raw greens, but I don’t think we’ve tried kale yet. I love how thin you sliced it…I think that made all the difference. Thank you for sharing another beautifully rendered post, my sweet friend. You know how to get my week off to a great start. I hope your week bursts forth with flavor and love. Hugs from Austin!


  42. #
    elle marie — April 18, 2011 @ 4:19 am

    My kind of women!!! Kale, southern style, is hands-down-the-best ever! I have been away from the US for quite a long time, and can you clue me in on what ham steak is? I know what it is, but not sure how to go about asking what piece the butcher should prepare for me?


  43. #
    Cécy — April 18, 2011 @ 10:55 am

    So I ended up using this. I made a Kale salad with slices oranges, dried cranberries, maple-sugar roasted pecans and goat cheese plus your dressing. It was great.
    I used the dressing again for a similar salad but with spinach this time for a friend who just had a baby and she really loved it. The maple syrup replaced the honey quite well too.


  44. #
    Monica — April 19, 2011 @ 9:55 am

    Sounds great! But one suggestion. To complete the “Southernness,” I would have used pecans instead of almonds. You know we Southerners love our Pee-CANS. :-) I look forward to trying a raw kale salad myself!


  45. #
    Magic of Spice — April 21, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    Perfect southern meal…I have never tried raw kale either, sounds wonderful :)



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