Smoked ham hock & seared scallop salad with green mango, pecans, palm heart, peas & avocado

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Preparation info

  • For

    8

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey

Fusion

By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

This little mixed salad works so well because the various flavours are distinctive and the textures work wonderfully together. We have been lucky enough to get delicious crunchy fresh coconut palm hearts from Thailand in London - you can see slices of it in the photo. If you have to use canned palm hearts they’ll be okay, but you may prefer to use either thinly sliced raw kohlrabi or jicama (yam bean) instead for the crunch factor. Please make sure you serve the coral from the scallop in this salad - too many people discard it, yet it has a lovely, almost bitter, flavour whilst also being quite rich. I use green mango that’s ripened a little on the windowsill - it remains a little sharp, but also becomes a little sweet. Use fresh uncooked peas for this, although frozen ones (defrosted) will be fine, and make sure the avocado you choose is ripe and tasty. As for the ham hock, one hock will give you enough meat to make 20 salads - but it’s worth cooking a whole one and using the leftovers in a pasta or risotto dish, mixed into scrambled eggs for breakfast, or used as a pie filling.

Ingredients

  • 1 brined ham hock or gammon knuckle (1-1.2 kg)
  • 1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled and cut crossways
  • 2 chillies, split lengthways
  • 10 black or white peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 20 ml (1 Tbsp and 1 tsp) avocado oil
  • 20 ml (1 Tbsp and 1 tsp) lime juice
  • 100 g palm heart
  • 1 green mango
  • 1 avocado
  • 150 g scallops, cleaned
  • 2 large handfuls mixed micro-greens, cress or sprouts
  • 16 toasted pecan nuts, snapped in half
  • a handful of raw peas
  • 2 juicy limes, cut into quarters

Method

Place the ham hock into a large deep pot along with the garlic, chillies, peppercorns and bay leaves. Pour on enough cold water to cover by 5 cm and bring to the boil. As it has been brined it won’t need any salt. Put a lid on the pot and rapidly simmer for l½-2 hours, topping up with hot water from time to time if the cooking liquor falls below the level of the meat. It’s cooked when you can pull the meat off the bone. Leave it to cool in the poaching liquor then take it out, pull the fat off and discard it, and take the meat from the bone. Pull the meat apart, as in the photo, and put to one side.

Make the dressing by mixing the olive oil with 15 ml of the avocado oil, the lime juice and some salt and pepper.

Slice the palm heart thinly and put to one side. Peel the skin from the green mango, then peel the flesh off in strips and put to one side. Run a knife around the avocado and twist it open. Flick out the stone then, using a spoon, scoop the flesh out in one piece. Cut into chunks.

Cut the coral from the scallops then slice them into 5-mm thick discs. Toss gently with the remaining avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat up a pan and when it’s really hot place as many scallop slices and coral as will fit comfortably in the pan at once. Cook the scallops for 5 seconds on each side. Take from the pan and place on a warmed plate.

To Serve

Toss everything together and then divide the salad amongst eight plates. Shake the dressing again and pour it over the salad. Serve with the lime wedge tucked in.