Tuesday, 18 May 2010

British air dried ham and early season asparagus

 Dear Readers!

 I must apologise for the rather long break I've had from the blog!  But, do not dispair, I have not given up on the project.  April turned out to be a rather hectic month and I ended up getting stuck in Canada because of the Volcano and, well, lot's has been happening, so unfortunately the blog took a back seat there for a while.  Anyway, I'm back now and there is quite a lot of catching up to do!

 My regular readers will remember that I did quite well with growing tomatoes last year on my little patio.  Well, I'm trying to do even better this year and have gone all out and got some nice pots.  I'm trying to grow all sorts of things this time round, including radishes (which have to be the easiest to grow vegetable ever!), spinach, spring onions (though they're not looking so good), tomatoes, mint, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, sage, corriander and alpine strawberries.  I shall post some pictures of all of this at some point in the near future and will of course keep you up to date with my progress!

 Anyway, today I'd like to blog about the British air dried ham that I bought at Richard Woodall's butchers in the Lake District some time ago.  I finally got around to using it!  This ham is very much like Palma ham from Italy, if you've had that and as such goes very well with asparagus.  Now, of course, asparagus is in season right now (make the most of it, it's a short season!), so I thought that this would make the perfect combination.

And the ham:

Now, this is really easy to do!  I've found that many people will say that they don't like asparagus, but I often find that this is because they have never had it when it has been cooked properly.  All too often, it's served after having been boiled and it has turned to nothing more than a slightly strange flavoured green mush.  This is not good!  Asparagus must be cooked gently in my opinion, or very quickly on a high heat.  So, grilling works well, or the BBQ!  However, in this case, I've opted for boiling in lightly salted water. 

Trim the woody part off the bottom of the stalk, but otherwise they should need no preparation beyond washing.  Get the water boiling rapidly and then add the asparagus and start a timer.  I let it boil for as close as possible to three minutes and then whip it out as fast possible onto some kitchen paper to dry off.  For this dish, I then allowed it to cool, before carefully wrapping each stalk in a piece of the ham, like so:

 Personally, I think this is a fantastic combination and it seemed to work very well with the Richard Woodall ham.  However, aware that nobody should simply take my word for it, I took some to work and shared them around with my work collegues.  It seemed to go down very well!


Andy said...

We want more information about the ham, is it the same as parma ham that you compared it to? What does it taste of? Is it tasty? Should I buy some, or just stick with parma ham that I know I like?

Dr. B said...

Hi Andy! Thanks for the comment! You're quite right, I should probably have said more about the ham. To be honest, it's only 'Palma Ham' like in that it is also air dried in a similar process. I found the taste to be really quite different. It's very strongly flavoured and so probably isn't to every bodies liking. I can't think of anything to compare it to, so answering your question about what it tastes of is quite difficult. I would certainly recommend buying some to try it though! It is available by mail order and can be sent by ordinary first class post, so it doesn't require any special delivery or anything. Give it a go and let me know what you think!