There are certain things you can be sure of, when you're approaching a new dish: Whenever you see the phrase "French" vanilla on your ice cream, you know that it has eggs in it. Likewise, call anything "Florentine," and it will undoubtedly include spinach. That's the way it is with "Hawaiian"--its inclusion in the name of anything usually means that there's pineapple in it somewhere. Do Hawaiians have a corner on pineapple? So Florence-ians (or whatever they're called) have a corner on spinach? Are the French the only ones who use eggs in ice cream? Hardly. These are culinary stereotypes, people. Culinary stereotypes I will now perpetuate.
My apologies to any Hawaiians I might offend in the process.
One rainy, fall day, I was trying to think of what to make for dinner when our house was STRUCK BY LIGHTNING! The house was fine, but when the bolt struck, I was touching ham with one hand and a can of pineapple chunks with the other. The jolt ran a current through me from the ham to the pineapple, I had a moment of supreme clarity, and this dish was born!
Not really. There isn't much back story to this dish; I don't even remember when I started making it. But it's so (embarrassingly) easy and so (surprisingly) good, I have to share it with you. So here's all the back story I've got: I thought ham and pineapple with a brown sugar glaze sounded tasty, and slightly tropical, but didn't want to prepare an entire ham, so I found these Ham Steaks and hawaiianized them.
Sorry, Hawaii, if this really has nothing to do with you, but it was a tasty dish and needed a name, and besides, it had pineapple in it, so my hands were tied. Here's my simple recipe for
Hawaiian Ham Steak
approximate time: 10 minutes
1 lg (1lb. or greater) bone-in ham steak
1 lg. can pineapple chunks, drained, divided, juice reserved
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly score the fat around the ham steak to prevent curling, and place in the pan. Brown on each side, about 1-2 minutes.
Drain the pineapple chunks, reserving the juice, and quarter the chunks (or, alternately, you could buy the giant can of Dole Pineapple Tidbits and skip the quartering.). Toss half of the pineapple bits into the pan, still over medium-high heat, until they start to brown and caramelize a bit. Then add all of the juice and the brown sugar to deglaze the pan, and whisk to combine. Allow mixture to come to a boil and reduce slightly, then add the ham back into the pan until it is warmed through. (Save the other half of the pineapple bits to make Pineapple-Almond Rice Pilaf, a great accompaniment)
Cut the ham into sections (removing the bone) and serve with the caramelized pineapple. Drizzle with the sauce, and say Aloha to great flavor!