Depending on the varying curing methods and levels of salt used, gammon may have to be soaked or boiled before cooking, so consult your butcher (or check the labelling) before you start. You can test the saltiness of the gammon by cutting off a small chunk of the meat and frying until cooked through in a little oil - taste the meat, it should be pleasantly salty but not overwhelmingly so. How you cook gammon should depend on the cut of gammon you are using - a leg joint, which can have the bone in or be de-boned, a rolled joint of gammon, a gammon steak or gammon rashers are all available.
Probably the most commonly used cooking method for gammon is roasting. Roasting a large gammon joint is great for feeding the family and is pleasingly economical. And you can use leftover roast gammon in many dishes, from pasta bakes to homemade baked beans. Braising is another popular cooking method, and is particularly apt for both large gammon joints and leg steaks.
Gammon doesn’t need to be cooked all day before it can be eaten - gammon steaks and rashers are better suited for a midweek supper. Steaks can be grilled or pan-fried, usually ready to eat within ten minutes, while rashers can be treated similarly to bacon.
Gammon stands up well to warming spices – as exemplified by Graham Campbell’s roast gammon dish, which uses a mix of five-spice, soy, cinnamon and cardamom to make a heady glaze for the meat. Blogger Victoria Glass also recommends piquant flavours, using a jerk marinade (Scotch bonnet chillies, allspice, rum, ginger and muscovado sugar) to flavour the gammon before it cooks.
Apple is the famous partner to gammon. And James Mackenzie adds a boozy twist to this delicious combo - braising gammon in Scrumpy cider before coating in a sticky honey and mustard glaze and roasting.
Sweet, spicy, tart, sour - gammon can work with the full gamut of flavours, so be adventurous. James Mackenzie serves gammon with an inspired gooseberry ketchup, Emily Watkins pairs with the fresher notes ofpea and mint and Josh Eggleton studs a gammon with cloves and serves with parsley sauce. If you want to keep things simple, serve with a watercress, pea shoot and radish salad.