Gammon and egg is a tried and tested combination; but Emily Watkins turns the partnership on its head in this gammon salad recipe, poaching and deep frying the egg and braising the gammon. An intricate starter particularly enjoyable in the spring months.
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Preheat the oven to 170˚C/gas mark 3
Place the gammon, vegetables, herbs and peppercorns in an oven dish and cover with water. Place in the oven and braise for 1 1/2 hours
1 gammon leg steak
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs of thyme
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the dish. For the soup, bring the water to the boil. As it reaches boiling point, add the mint and then the frozen peas, cover with a lid until it returns to the boil
1000ml of water
500g of frozen peas
Remove from the heat, strain the peas and mint, reserving 2 cups of the hot liquid. Remove the mint as this was only used to infuse and will not be blended with the peas
Blend on a high speed until you are left with a soup, adding the cooking liquid gradually until you reach the desired consistency. Season to taste and pass through a fine sieve into a bowl set over ice to cool. Store in the fridge until required
Pod the fresh peas, then blanch in some lightly salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Refresh the peas in iced water to stop the cooking process, then pop the peas out of their skins
300g of fresh peas in the pod
Whisk the oil and lemon juice together with a little seasoning until it comes together. Set aside until ready to serve
Once the gammon is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the stock
To prepare the crispy eggs, bring a large pot of water to a simmer and pour in the white wine vinegar. Crack the eggs into individual cups and gently pour each egg in the water. Maintain a very gentle simmer until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still soft and runny. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper
40ml of white wine vinegar
600ml of water
Add flour, the remaining beaten eggs and the breadcrumbs to separate bowls. Roll each egg in the flour, followed by the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs and set aside. For a thicker, crispier finish, repeat the egg and breadcrumb stages for each egg
50g of plain flour
50g of breadcrumbs
Before serving, reheat the soup in a pan on the hob. Meanwhile, place the shelled peas, pea shoots and fresh mint leaves in a bowl and dress with the lemon juice and olive oil dressing
fresh mint leaves
1 sprig of fresh mint, large
Slice the cooled gammon steaks into lardons, mix together the honey and mustard to form a glaze over the gammon. Sauté the lardons in the glaze in a hot pan until golden
1 1/2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
2 tbsp of honey
Deep fry the eggs at 180°C until crispy and golden, then drain on kitchen paper and season with some salt
Divide the salad between plates, sprinkle over some gammon lardons then finish with a crispy egg. Transfer the soup into a pouring jug and serve immediately
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