Sprout top and ham hock salad

Serves 4

The slight saltiness of the ham hock is the perfect foil for those iron-laden sprout top leaves which are served blanched and warm in this tasty salad starter. You will have extra ham hock left over that you can use in sandwiches.

1 small ham hock, soaked overnight in cold water
A couple of handfuls of sprout tops, thick stalks trimmed and washed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

2 shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1tsp English mustard
1tbsp cider vinegar
4tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil

Put the ham hock in a saucepan, cover with fresh cold water, bring to the boil and simmer gently with a lid on for about 2 hours or until the meat comes away from the bone. Remove from the liquor and leave to cool or leave to cool in the liquor.

To make the dressing: simmer the shallots with the vinegar and a tablespoon of water until reduced by half, then whisk in the mustard and oil and season.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the sprout tops for a minute, then drain in a colander.

Flake the ham hock into small pieces; reheat with a little of the cooking liquor. To serve, arrange the sprout tops on serving plates.

Scatter the pieces of ham hock on top and spoon the dressing over.

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