This ham hock salad recipe is one I have been making for years. I have used it to impress friends, feed the family and to make some money from catering gigs. It is a dish that is PERFECT for dinner parties, large groups or picnics in the park with a nice glass of Chardy! Keep reading to see how to serve ham hock, how I braise ham hock and more importantly what I drink with ham hock.
HOW TO COOK HAM HOCK
It all starts here, how do you cook the hunk of meat that is a ham hock. It's actually pretty simple really. You braise it. Braised ham hock is the way to go. This method is where we place the ham hock in a large saucepan of salted water, add some aromatics and let the gas stove do the work. I usually add in lemon, salt, pepper, bay leaf and dried chilli. These all help build layers of flavour to the dish
FRESH HAM HOCK OR SMOKED HAM HOCK
It's really a matter of preference do you like that smokey flavour or not. Personally, I love the smokey flavour and have cooked this ham hock salad dish using both fresh ham hocks and smoked ham hocks and they are both cracking. The images here are using fresh ham hocks as I used them for a recent catering gig as the client requested non-smoked hocks. I guess the advantage of using smoked ham hocks is that you can fit more in the saucepan as they are a bit smaller 😉
WHERE CAN I BUY HAM HOCKS?
Most butcher shops will stock smoked ham hocks and can also get hold of fresh ham hocks for you too. Here in Australia, both major supermarket chains Coles & Woolworths sell smoked ham hocks so it's not an uncommon ingredient to find.
HAM HOCK SALAD INGREDIENTS
This salad is one of Mrs AnotherFoodBloggers fave things that I make, it does require a good number of ingredients but on the plus side they are all really easy to find and the majority have a good shelf life too. I've always got the likes of eggs in the fridge, mayo, whole grain mustard, lemons, garlic & cornichons on hand which makes the shopping for this braised ham hock salad recipe pretty darn easy. Truthfully, the dish takes a good while to make BUT most of that is in the simmering of the ham hock. The great thing about my braised ham hock salad is that it's not looking to win any beauty contests so everything just needs a rough chop!
HOW TO BOIL AN EGG!
Boiling an egg seems like the EASIEST thing in the world to do. Right? Well, you would be surprised at how sometimes the most basic things seem to be the hardest to do. I made this dish for 50ppl about 3 years ago now and when I was peeling all the eggs 1/2 of them were sticking to the shell. Luckily as mentioned we aren't entering a beauty pageant but boy was it a pain in the arse to pick all the shell out.
Here are my simple tips on how to hard boil an egg properly! Set up a pot full of ice-cold water first. Then, heat a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling add a good amount of salt. How much is a good amount you say? Well, for 3-4 eggs about 1 tbsp will do. Along with the salt add a wedge of lemon to the water. Gently place the eggs into the water (I use a slotted spoon) and boil for EXACTLY 10 minutes. Remove the eggs and place them straight into the ice-cold water and allow to cool thoroughly. Bash the sides and peel the eggs in the water.
That's it - follow those steps and you will have perfectly cooked and peeled hard-boiled eggs every time!
CAN I USE LEFTOVER HAM?
The truth is with this ham hock salad you can use any type of ham you like. I like to use ham hocks as they are cheap, full of flavour and they offer a great balance of bite and soft braised meat texture. But I don't see why it couldn't become leftover ham salad or pulled pork salad. They would take on a different texture but the ingredients are essentially the same and I think would taste equally as good. How do I serve ham hock salad? Read on friend!
HOW TO SERVE HAM HOCK SALAD
On a plate with a knife and fork. Do I need to elaborate? No, seriously there are a few ways of serving this delicious braised ham hock salad. First and foremost serve it in a large bowl for friends to help themselves at a picnic! Or maybe fancy it up a little by doing it as lettuce cups - great for a party. You can also serve them on homemade crostinis which works great for any occasion - dinner party, canapes or picnic. Go old skool and grab a ring mould and place it inside with some rocket salad on top. Who doesn't love the 90's? Heck, I used the leftovers on Sunday and put it in a baguette for my sandwich on the beach. The ham hock dish is super versatile.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CROSTINI?
You know those cute crispy bits of oily salty bread that you pay a load for at the store only to find out that 1/2 of them are smashed up? They are ridiculously easy to make and cheap too! Grab a french baguette, slice 1cm slices and lay them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (easy on the clean up), brush each side with a little olive oil and bake in the oven @ 180c for about 5-6 minutes, flip and bake for a further 2-3 minutes. The bread should sound hollow once done. Sprinkle with salt straight from the oven and job done!
CAN I FREEZE MY HAM HOCK SALAD?
Freezing the salad isn't advised. Nothing in the salad will hurt or make you ill if you freeze but it freezing mayonnaise is never usually a good idea. Once you defrost mayonnaise it will separate giving you a pretty messy looking dish. What I can suggest is cooking double the amount of ham hock and once cooled freeze the cooked ham hock itself. Just make sure to label and date it so it doesn't get lost in the black hole that can be a freezer!
JACKSON BROOKE WINERY
Jackson Brooke - the man and winery produce some great single-vineyard wines including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah & Pinot Meunier. 4 wines were rated recently my Halliday (the god of Aussie wines ratings) and each came back with a 92-95 point rating and in turn, Jackson Brooke was awarded a 5-star winery rating too. A great reward for any winery in Australia to receive.
The wines are produced in Henty, a small town in South-West Victoria and all come from single vineyard sites. This means it's all about the site, the love, dedication and hard work put into growing these grapes. Trust me when I say all this is evident when you crack into these wines. Family & friends play a big part in the wines too with his previous Syrah's called 'Olivia' in 2014 and 'Abbey' in 2016 after his daughters who were both born during vintage. His latest 'initial series' wines are the AT Chardonnay & GD Syrah named after friends and fellow winery nerds;)
I can't recommend this boutique winery enough - small production but big things in the bottle. I'm excited to see what happens with Jackson Brooke and how they will grow over the coming years.
Once again I was tasked with creating a recipe to pair with wine so it made this paragraph a lot easier to write 😉 I had been meaning to make this dish and post it on my blog for some time now so it was the perfect opportunity to do so when I drank the delicious Jackson Brooke Chardonnay. The style of chardonnay takes me back to drinking more Chablis when I lived in Ireland. A citrus-forward cool-climate chardonnay that sees a little bit of French oak but mostly stainless steel tanks, it's on the lees for about 8 months which helps add a nice yeasty/breadiness to it too but there is no doubt that citrus in the form of lemon & grapefruit is doing the talking here. Drinking beautifully now and will age nicely over the next 3-5 years so defo a great one to have 6 of on hand!
OTHER SALAD IDEAS
Inspired to up your salad game? Then check out these alternatives to my delicious braised ham hock salad.
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!
- 1.2 kg ham hocks fresh or smoked
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- 1 lemon wedge
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 2 jalapenos
- 75 g cornichons
- 75 g mayonnaise
- 25 g wholegrain mustard
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
- 10 g parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 spring onion
- salt & pepper
- crusty bread
- baby gem lettuce
- Chef Knives
- Chopping board
- Measuring utensils
- large mixing bowl
- saucepan & lid
- baking tray
- Place ham hock in a large pot of salted water, add peppercorns, bayleaf & lemon wedge. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours until falling off the bone
- Remove from the water, cool until safe to handle and pick apart the ham hock meat discarding the fat and bones.
- Place eggs in a pot of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and cool them immediately in iced cold water. Peel and dice. *see tips*
- Dice cornichons, parsley, garlic, spring onions & jalapenos. Mix together with chopped eggs, cooled ham hock and rest of the ingredients. Toss to combine, taste and adjust seasoning
Crostini (if using)
- Slice baguette about 1-2cm thick, brush with a little olive oil and bake in the oven @ 180c for 5-6 minutes, turn and bake for a further 3 minutes until crispy and bread sounds hollow!
- This ham hock salad works really well in a sandwich, on top of some grilled crostinis/crusty bread, as a salad with some rocket or inside a lettuce cup for something a little healthier. It is great as a starter for 6-8ppl or double the portions and make it as a great canape for 15-20ppl
- the best and easiest way to boil eggs and peel them every time is heavily salt the water along with a wedge of lemon. Once water is boiling gently place eggs in for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes place them in ice-cold water immediately. Peel them in the water!
- ham hock salad will keep for 5-6 days in the fridge
- this dish makes a great starter that can be prepared in advance or an even better canape for dinner parties or through the holiday season