I think I might have this thing for cooking gammon joints and then presenting them in a bowl. Going through my camera roll it turns out the only food I feel is worthy of being presented in a bowl is gammon and I have absolutely no idea why because dinner in a bowl is so much more satisfying for presenting and also makes eating it more enjoyable (just me that thinks that?).
It has to be unsalted gammon though otherwise it is just too much and makes it really hard to season suitably with balance on the crackling layer and throughout the actual meat. I find that getting an unsalted one allows for a sensible amount of salt, pepper and herbs to be used on it rather than needing to pile overwhelming amounts on just to counteract the intense salt of a smoked and salted version.
I would like to pretend I had some great hidden secret to cooking a good gammon but seasoning it, scoring the skin and drizzling a little oil over it is pretty much all you need combined with time, an oven at about 180°c and patience as well as ensuring it has time to rest afterwards before even attempting to cut into it. Cooking meat is one of those things where even if you do not season it and just follow the instructions provided on almost any packet or from any butcher (in the UK at least) where it informs you it needs 30 minutes per 500g and then an additional 30 minutes on top you should at least end up with a juicy and well cooked piece of meat; do not let a joint of meat or something like a whole chicken intimidate you.
If you do want to make the piece of meat a little bit more fancy I would recommend, after scoring the skin, to rub in some sage, rosemary, thyme and garlic as well as salt and black pepper but you can do just one of these and build yourself up to the full whack after a few attempts. Alternatively if you want to do a honey glaze then mix a little bit of honey, soy sauce and cinnamon, clove, ginger and sugar together as well as a little bit of warm water to loosen the mixture up and then brush or rub it across the skin.
The best way for me to avoid the temptation to cut and serve it straight away is to then use the same pan with any seasoning and fat still in there to roast some potatoes (parboiled standard potatoes or raw sweet potatoes) as this allows for all those flavours to be soaked up, helps to crisp up the potato skin and also gives the meat nearly an hour to just rest on a board before serving time approaches.
So many people seem to only have gammon at Christmas but I feel that combined with sweet potato and vegetables like broccoli it can very easily be turned into a light and airy summer dish as well and makes for a lovely alternative to the usual Sunday roast options and involves minimal effort in terms of having to stand in a kitchen and sweat away – all a gammon joint needs is the odd oven open and turning it around in the pan to ensure it hasn’t stuck and is cooking evenly.
I should not have written this when so hungry… I am now wanting gammon but served in a bowl. What is your favourite type of meat to cook and do you find presenting food in a certain way makes it more enjoyable to eat?