BEST BETS: HA­BANERO SALAD

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Go Eat -

Dur­ing the re­cent Mem­phis in May World Cham­pi­onship Bar­be­cue Cook­ing Con­test, peo­ple in the SSG Rib­bers booth were spirit­edly de­claim­ing why their fa­vorite sand­wich from Frank’s South Main Mar­ket & Deli was the best. Ev­ery­body had a dif­fer­ent fa­vorite.

My fa­vorite item at Frank’s isn’t a sand­wich. I didn’t even know it ex­isted un­til cook Sam Jamhour brought a sam­ple for me to try while I was eat­ing their smoked turkey sand­wich. It’s Frank’s Spe­cial Ha­banero Salad. I me­chan­i­cally tried a bite with my smoked turkey sand­wich. It was de­li­cious. It’s like noth­ing I’ve ever tasted.

Jamhour told me it’s a Mediter­ranean dish; it has car­rots, gar­lic (pods, not pow­der), cu­cum­bers and ha­banero pep­pers. I asked what was the in­cred­i­bly tasty juice that cov­ered ev­ery­thing and set­tled in the bot­tom of the bowl. “This is the se­cret,” he said.

The salad, to me, was spicy, but it wasn’t fiery hot and dif­fi­cult to eat. I thought it was more on the mild side and re­fresh­ing, but it still had a kick.

Jamhour cre­ated the salad as an ap­pe­tizer at The Blues Broth­ers Steak House in Is­rael. “I like some­thing spicy,” he said, adding, “You get this crazy thing in your head and you start to make it.”

He also made the salad when he worked at a res­tau­rant in Mi­ami. He con­tin­ued to make it af­ter go­ing to work six months ago at Frank’s, where his cousin, Adam Deek, is the owner.

The salad, which isn’t yet on the menu, sells for $2.95 for a half-pound and $5.95 for a pound.

I wanted to buy an or­der to take home, so I asked Jamhour how long the salad would keep in the re­frig­er­a­tor. He said it tastes even bet­ter each day af­ter it’s made, whether it’s five days or 20 days.

I asked Deek what he thought about the salad. “Awe­some,” was his re­sponse.

I should have brought some with me to share with some of the team mem­bers last week­end at Tom Lee Park. Deek told me Frank’s Spe­cial Ha­banero Salad is great with bar­be­cue.

Frank’s South Main Mar­ket & Deli is at 327 S. Main; (901) 523-0101. — Michael Don­ahue: (901) 529-2797;

don­ahue@com­mer­cialap­peal.com

Michael Don­ahue/the Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

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