© David Loftus
gammon and eggs (with nanny betty)
This is a bit of a British classic, but I’m taking it up a notch and promoting it from a simple brunch to a good lunch or dinner. Flattening the gammon as it cooks means it gets great colour and character, and the mustard gives it a good bit of attitude. Give it a try.
Preheat your oven to full whack, about 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7. Parboil the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then drain and tip into a nice tray. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil, then jiggle them around in the pan so all the seasoning sticks to them. Pop in the hot oven to bake like mini jacket potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until they’ve got lovely crispy skin and you can hear them sizzle. Get a large pan of salted water on to boil.
Meanwhile, make a salad dressing by whisking the honey, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper with three times as much extra-virgin olive oil. Have a taste to check the balance of flavours. Pick through your watercress and get rid of any tough stalks, then wash and spin dry. Slice your apples (core and all) into 2mm-thick matchsticks. Put in a bowl with your watercress.
Sprinkle the mustard powder and a pinch of salt and pepper over your gammon slices and rub into the meat. Get a frying pan nice and hot over a medium-high heat and add a couple of good lugs of olive oil. Put your gammon in the pan, and pop a smaller lid directly on top of the meat. Push gently on the lid, and cook for a few minutes, shaking the pan every now and then, until the gammon is caramelised and golden on the bottom. At this point, flip the gammon over, and cook for a couple more minutes, again with the lid on top of the meat so it stays flat. When it’s looking good, get rid of the lid, tear up your rosemary sprigs and add them to the pan. Leave to cook away for a couple more minutes.
While that’s happening, get your pan of boiling salted water to a light simmer over a medium heat. Crack each egg into a small cup, then one at a time, gently pour them into the water in one fluid movement. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes for a soft to firm egg.
Drain your gammon on kitchen paper or simply let the fat drip off, then plate up with that gorgeous crispy rosemary on top. Use a slotted spoon to scoop your eggs on top, drizzle over a little oil and sprinkle with pepper. Drizzle your dressing over the salad, gently toss together and divide between your plates. Get your tray of potatoes out of the oven and serve them on the side. Delicious.
• 400g red-skinned baby potatoes
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• olive oil
• 1 heaped teaspoon runny honey
• juice of ½ a lemon
• extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 large handfuls of watercress
• 1 apple
• 1 heaped tablespoon English mustard powder
• 2 x 1cm thick slices of blue leg gammon, the best quality you can afford
• a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 2 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic