This salad recipe is the perfect summer dinner. Simple, sophisticated and a new way of showcasing one of our old favourites – ham!
– 1 unsmoked boneless gammon joint, tied
– 2 onions, halved
– 2 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
– 2 celery stalks, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
– 4 bay leaves
– 12 black peppercorns
– small handful cloves
– 2 ripe peaches, de-stoned and sliced
– 1 small punnet of gooseberries, halved
– 1-2 tbsp crumbled blue-vein cheese (I like to use Cashel Blue, or similar)
– Handful of watercress
– Juice of half a lemon
– Drizzle of olive oil
– 4 ripe peaches, de-stoned and roughly chopped
– Squeeze of lemon juice
– Sprinkle of sugar (depending on sweetness of peaches)
1. Place the gammon joint into a large lidded saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat.
2. Drain the water from the saucepan, add fresh cold water, add the onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to the boil once more.
3. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer the gammon and vegetables gently for 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz.
4. For the puree, add the peaches to a heavy bottom pan over a low heat with a splash of water and simmer until the flesh has completely softened.
5. Add lemon on juice and sugar to taste – depending on how tart or sweet or peaches are.
6. Blend in a food processor or with a hand blender until smooth, then pass through a sieve to remove the skin and any lumps.
7. Assemble all the salad ingredients and serve with a steak or slice of gammon and some peach puree.
BBC MasterChef Finalist, Alison O’Reilly, who was praised by the judges for her inventive and stylish dishes, is turning her unique ideas to Irish food. Having worked in food marketing for years, she is now carving out a new path as chef and food writer and is dishing up a fresh approach to Irish food which is fun and sophisticated, with a strong focus on local seasonal produce. She is also member of female chef trio Three Girls Cook, with her fellow MasterChef finalists and they are running a series of supper clubs in London. Find out more at foodbyalison.com.