poached gammon with mint, parsley and watercress saucerating:
This is a recipe by Nigel Slater which appeared in the Observer magazine recently. As always, I've tinkered with it a bit, but I've said where something is my own addition, so you can ignore it.
2kg piece of gammon
2 small onions
a few spring carrots
1½ bulbs of fennel
a few parsley stalks
10 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
Put the gammon in a deep pan, cover with water and bring it to the boil. Carefully pour off the water, refill with fresh, and return to the heat. Tuck the onions, halved but not peeled, around it, and the carrots. Slice the fennel bulbs in half from stalk to root and add them to the pot with the parsley stalks, peppercorns and bay leaves.
Bring the water to the boil, skimming off the white surface froth as you go, then turn down to a slow simmer. The water should bubble only gently. Leave to cook for around 30 minutes per 500g.
If you are serving the gammon hot then leave the meat in the cooking liquor for about 20 minutes before carving. Remove and slice thinly on to warm plates, spooning a little of the cooking liquor over the surface to keep the meat moist and hot, and serve with some of the sauce below.
Mint and watercress sauce
4 tbsp flat-leafed parsley
4 tbsp mint leaves
a bunch of watercress
2 large garlic cloves
half a fennel bulb
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp cornichons (my own addition)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp or more of lemon juice (I prefer cider vinegar, and added a bit more than 2 tsps)
Chop the parsley and mint and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Remove the leaves from the watercress and stir them into the parsley and mint. Peel and chop the garlic and finely chop the fennel. Mix the herbs, garlic, fennel, capers and mustard together and beat in enough olive oil to make a sloppy sauce. (If you do this in the food processor, don't over process it.) Check the seasoning, adding black pepper and lemon juice as you think fit, but no salt.