Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Salt Beef and Spinach

That butcher's on Nunhead Lane is the only place I've come across in London that makes and sells its own uncooked Salt Beef. I know it's a pretty unpleasant grey on the outside but once cooked, it's so wonderfully soft and pink within (as good as any gammon) I can't understand why it isn't more popular. If you don't live near Nunhead, you could salt your own but you'll need curing salt or saltpetre. These people do salt beef by mail order but you might have to order more than one joint.

Today, I nicked off work a bit early and at about 5pm, popped my pale little joint (just under 1kg, cost around £6.50) in a big pan with water, four halved shallots, a chopped carrot, a sliced red chilli and garlic clove, a few whole herb sprigs and a couple of star anise. I bought it to a simmer and kept it going very gently, skimming from time to time until 7.30pm (popping out to nursery to fetch The Scrap half way through).

Finally, I tipped in a big bag of young spinach leaves, just for a couple of minutes until wilted. I cut a few thick pink slices off the beef, into two bowls and ladled over the lovely, clear, fragrant broth and vegetables. It was fantastic. And along with some American mustard and dill pickles, the rest of the beef will keep Robert in packed lunches at least until Thursday!

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