The dressing must be made the day before you need it. If you make it and eat it straight away, it isn't very good. If you leave the dressing for 24 hours, the flavour changes dramatically, believe me. The mustard powder loses its pungency soon after adding liquid, so it's best to leave this overnight, but re-season with salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar the next day. Warm the small chunks of succulent ham hock in the dressing.
- 2 brined/salted ham hocks
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 medium egg yolks
- 2 tbsp English mustard powder, heaped
- sugar, optional
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 300 ml vegetable oil
- 25 cold water
- 4 shallots, sliced finely, not chopped
- 4 tbsp (heaped) herbs basil, parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon.
- 150 g cooked green lentils
- 1 small Romaine or Iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 1 small bag watercress
- 4 tomatoes, cut into thick wedges
- Soak the ham hocks in cold water for 24 hours, changing the water occasionally.
- Bring to the boil in fresh cold water, then simmer, It must be a simmer, not a raging boil, or the meat will become tough and stringy, especially the outside 3-4cm.
- A good tip here, taste the water after simmering for 5 minutes. If it's salty, tip out the water and start again. If not salty, add a little salt and a few peppercorns
- Then simmer the hocks for 2hrs 30 mins exactly, in plenty of water with bay leaves and black peppercorns.
- When cooked, remove the pan from the stove and leave to cool in the liquor, then chill well in the stock.
- To prepare the hocks, remove from the jelly and wash them off under warm water.
- Remove all the skin and gristle, and pull the lobes of meat off the bone. Remove most of the fat, and cut the meat into bite sized pieces.
- Place the egg yolks, mustard powder, pepper, salt, sugar, and vinegar in a bowl.
- Whisk together, gradually add the vegetable oil until completely emulsified, check the seasoning, and adjust if needed. Also, add a little water to form a thick but not too thick mayonnaise.
- Add the sliced shallots, herbs and cooked green lentils.
- Place in the fridge and leave for overnight if possible. Then check the seasoning and adjust with vinegar and stir well.
- Place some of the dressing into a small pan and add a few pieces of ham hock warm through gently.
- Once warm, spoon over a mix of watercress and lettuce leaves and mix well, but carefully, pile onto a plate and place tomato wedges around the outside.
- Serve warm or as a main course with some boiled new potatoes.
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