Crisp ham hock and pumpkin salad with chilli dressing

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May 13, 2016 by dgarnett2013

Crisp ham hock and pumpkin salad with chilli dressing: Friends at My Table by Alice Hart


Serves 6

For the salad: 

  • 3 smoked ham hocks
  • 900g pumpkin or squash, peeled and sliced 2 – 3cm thick
  • 2 tabs olive oil
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 large handfuls of mixed leaves, e.g. mizuna, rocket, chard and young spinach
  • generous handful of coriander leaves
  • handful of Thai basil leaves (or more coriander if not available)
  • 2 large, ripe avocados, cut into thin segments.


For the dressing: 

  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 6 tabs mild olive oil
  • 3 shallots, very finely sliced
  • 45g palm sugar or 3 tabs light brown sugar
  • 2 red chillies, very fine sliced
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced into fine matchsticks
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 3 tabs soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil


If ham is cured, soak hocks in cool water for a few hours before cooking, changing the water as and when you remember.

Preheat the oven to 160℃. Put the ham hocks in a small roasting tin and cover with foil.

Cook for two hours or so, until almost falling apart. Cool until you can strip away the fat and skin, tearing the meat into large pieces. (You can do this up to two days in advance. If doing this, return to room temp. then put in roasting tin, cover with foil and reheat in a low oven).

Increase the oven temperature to 220℃. Toss the pumpkin with the oil, season generously and roast on a lined baking sheet for about 30 mins, until golden at the edges and tender. Leave to cool slightly. (Again, can be done in advance. Return to room temperature before using).

The dressing: Prepare the lime leaves by stacking them on top of each other and rolling up tightly. Slice very, very finely to get whisper-thin shreds, avoiding the stalk (chuck that bit away).

Place 4 tabs of the oil in a frying pan and add the shallots. Cook gently, stirring often, for about 10 mins. They should look shrivelled but not deeply coloured. Now add the sugar and stir for 2 mins. Follow with the chillies, ginger, garlic, lemon grass and lime leaves, keeping the heat very low and cooking for a further five minutes.


Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Stir in the soy sauce, lime juice, remaining olive oil and the sesame oil.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan, shaking them about until puffed and fragrant. Set aside to cool. To serve, combine the salad and herb leaves in a large bowl, scatter the pumpkin, avocado and ham over, followed by the dressing and a twist of black pepper.

Fluff everything up a bit and shower with pumpkin seeds. Take to the table for everyone to serve themselves.

Eaten in mid May, with mid-May colours.

wisteria candyflowers

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