Gammon & cockles on toast

Gammon and cockles is a match made in heaven, and together on toast delivers the same comforting joy as a mother’s open arms.

Gammon & cockles on toast

Gammon & cockles on toast

Recipe by

Serves 4


  • 2 Gammon Steaks, chopped into chunks

  • 50ml cider, white wine or dry, white vermouth  

  • 1 kg net of fresh cockles

  • 70g unsalted butter

  • 1 small onion

  • ½ tsp of chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • small scratch of grated nutmeg

  • 1 generous tbsp of plain flour

  • 70ml double cream

  • 15g fresh parsley leaves, very finely chopped

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread, toasted


  • Thoroughly wash cockles of sand and grit under running cold water with some vigorous shaking.
  • In a large pot that owns a lid heat the alcohol until simmering.
  • Add the cockles and put the lid on.
  • Cook over a high heat, stirring the cockles after a minute.
  • Cook to only just opened as they will be cooked again briefly.
  • Drain cockles into a colander over a bowl, retaining the ESSENTIAL juice and leave to cool on one side.
  • Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the gammon until lightly browned but taking care not to burn the butter.
  • Remove the gammon from the pan on to a side plate leaving the fat in the pan.
  • Cook the onions in the butter with a good grating of black pepper, the thyme and nutmeg stirring regularly until onions are cooked to totally tender.
  • Sift in flour and stirring constantly, cook it for a minute or so.
  • Start adding all the cockle juice, stirring often as you go with a small whisk. Add the juice through a fine sieve  and don’t pour in the last bit which will probably display sand (this is common with cockles).
  • The consistency of the sauce wants to look like thick pouring double cream.
  • Stir in the cream and follow with the ham then simmer slowly until the above consistency is achieved again.
  • Pick cockles and discard shells.
  • Make toast and butter.
  • Stir in cockles and chopped parsley and simmer for no more than 20 seconds or so before spooning onto the toast.