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
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.