Serves 4

As I've said before, a ham hock goes a long way and has a really great flavour. Once cooked, you then have a great stock-base for a soup (at this time of year you can cook some peas and/or broad beans in it and just blend it in, flaking back in some of the off-cuts from the hock).

Pea shoots or tendrils are the perfect summery salad leaf; you can even plant them just for their young shoots and continue cutting them through the summer. Use this salad as a starter or light main course, or even an intermediate course at a dinner party. If you haven't got pea shoots in your garden, then you can find them easily in Chinese supermarkets.

1 ham hock (smoked or un-smoked) weighing about a kilo or so, soaked overnight
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 leek, halved lengthways and washed
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
3 juniper berries
A couple of handfuls of pea shoots
120-150g shelled weight of fresh peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2tsp granulated sugar
A couple of good knobs of butter

For the dressing

1tbsp tarragon vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, peeled
2tbsp olive oil
3tbsp vegetable or corn oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash off the ham hock and place in a large pot with the onion, leek, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme and juniper. Cover well with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 2-2 hours or until the ham is tender. Leave to cool in the liquid or remove from the liquid to cool quicker. Bring enough water to the boil to cook the peas, add salt, sugar and butter then the peas. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until tender, then drain.

Whisk all of the ingredients together and season. Remove enough of the ham from the hock for the salad and break into flakes. You can even dice the rind and crisp it up in some oil.

Toss the pea shoots with the ham and dressing and arrange on plates or bowls.

Comments