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Home {Cookin'} for the Holidays: Chef William

We love the idea of taking a special, sneak peek into the personal family narratives of the chefs who create such a public experience for the guests and staff of Crystal Bridges; so over the holiday season, we’ll be revealing important edible family secrets from the chefs and culinary experts at Crystal Bridges. 


We end our holiday recipe series with Chef William McCormick’s country ham salad. McCormick, an eighth-generation Arkansan, grew up in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. He trained at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and working in Dallas, Boston, and Chicago before making his way back to Northwest Arkansas as the Executive Chef of Eleven, the restaurant at Crystal Bridges.

William McCormick, Head Chef of Eleven

William McCormick, Executive Chef of Eleven


Country Ham Salad
with Piccalilli, Charred Artichokes, Lemon & Olive Oil

4 oz thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto

5 Pieces of halved artichokes – charred on a grill

2 ounces piccalilli

1 ounce encapsulated olive oil


For the Artichoke Barigoule
  • 6 globe artichoke hearts, halved
  • 1 carrot, cut into a 5mm dice
  • 1/4 celeriac, cut into a 5mm dice
  • 175ml of white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 250ml of chicken stock, or vegetable stock
  • 1 pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 pinch of fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 200ml of extra virgin olive oil


Tie the fennel seeds in a cheesecloth and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the artichoke hearts and season with a pinch of salt. Add the diced carrot and celeriac and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure they do not color.

Turn up the heat. Add the wine and garlic to the pan and cook until almost dry. Add the fennel seeds (tied in cloth), chicken stock and caster sugar to the pan. Turn down the heat and simmer the artichokes until they are just cooked through (up to 5 minutes) and the liquid is reduced – the artichokes are cooked when a sharp knife is inserted and there is no resistance. Add the white wine vinegar to the pan. Remove the cheesecloth containing the fennel seeds from the pan.


For the Piccalilli
  • 2 lbs washed, peeled seasonal vegetables. Select 5 or 6 from: cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, shallots, peppers.
  • 50g fine salt
  • 30g cornflour
  • 10g ground turmeric
  • 10g English mustard powder
  • 15g yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 600ml Malt Vinegar
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 50g honey

Cut vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix well, cover and leave in a cool place for 24 hours. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Blend cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, cumin and coriander to a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar.

Put the rest of the vinegar into a saucepan with sugar and honey and bring to boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over blended spice paste, stir well and return to pan. Bring gently to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold in the vegetables.


To Serve

Brush each piece of ham with a lemon-infused olive oil and arrange on a plate in a circle. Place artichokes around the plate on top of the ham. Artfully place the piccalilli near each artichoke so each bite contains some of each component.

Garnish with encapsulated olive oil and young, spicy mustard greens.


Thanks for following our Home {Cookin’} for the Holidays series! Take a look at other holiday recipes by Chef Melody and Case Dighero.