To make a ham salad, prepare 1 cup of julienned country-cured ham; 1 cup of diced Granny Smith apples; 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots; 1 head of bibb letuce, separated into leaves and washed; and 1 bunch of watercress. Cube 6 ounces of Port Salut cheese.
Collect together 3/4 cups of chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of Kentucky bourbon, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup of olive oil. The recipe also requires 1/2 teaspoon of Creole seasoning, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and snipped chives.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pecans, toasting them until they're toasted fragrant. Add the sugar and the Creole seasoning, and stir until the sugar melts. Add the apples, cooking them until the sugar caramelizes and the apples soften. Remove the mixture from the heat. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or aluminum foil, and transfer the apples and pecans to this.
Whisk together the vinegar, shallots and bourbon in a bowl. Whisk in the oil until blended well, and then add the sour cream, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth, and adjust seasonings.
Place the lettuce leaves, ham, watercress and cheese in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the dressing, tossing to coat. Divide among plates, and place the apples and pecans on top. Add more dressing, black pepper and chives as desired.