Unless you are making a soup or a stock, when cooking meat in a liquid, as here, it is important to use only just enough to cover what needs to be cooked, otherwise too much of the flavour will be leached out into the liquid.
Put all the ingredients for the court bouillon into a large pan, add just enough water to ensure the ham hocks will be covered and bring to the boil. Then immerse the ham hocks in the liquor. Simmer gently until the ham is tender, about 2 hours. Leave to cool.
When cool enough to handle, prise the meat from the bone in bite-sized pieces and reserve.
Cook the potatoes in the strained court bouillon. This will give them an intense, smoky flavour. When cooked, remove and peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle (don’t let them get cold).
To make the dressing, beat the egg yolk with the mustards, then gradually add the white wine vinegar, followed by the oil. Season with salt. Pour some dressing over the warm potatoes. Add the shallots and parsley and toss to mix well.
Serve the dressed ingredients scattered with the watercress and drizzle the remaining dressing over the top.
© 2008 Anthony Demetre. All rights reserved.