Best Bet: Habanero Salad

Frank’s Special Habanero Salad at Frank’s South Main Market & Deli.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Frank’s Special Habanero Salad at Frank’s South Main Market & Deli.

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 in it. I asked what the incredibly tasty juice that covered everything and settled in the bottom of the bowl. He said, “This is the secret.”

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 its 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 South Main; (901) 523-0101.

Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797;

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