|bacon breakfast sandwich|
An English Breakfast in a sandwich is ridiculously indulgent, but one that graces my kitchen very occasionally . . . OK, I confess, it is more like once a month, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning. But it really is a rare treat and it's perfect when I have a house full of people to feed. Everyone loves a good bacon sarnie, and even more so if it has a few added extras.
There is some debate in the UK about what constitutes the perfect bacon sarnie - everyone has their favourite version and some people get a bit hot under the colour about it. Witness the debate over the fabulous Felicity Cloake's How to cook the perfect bacon sandwich a few months ago on The Guardian's food blog Word of Mouth.
Should you use back bacon or streaky? Smoked or unsmoked? Tomato sauce or brown sauce? Do you fry or grill the bacon? What kind of bread do you prefer? Do you like the cotton woolly factory-produced bread or do you like something a little more artisanal? Everyone on the Word of Mouth blog had very firm opinions (and some had clearly got out of the wrong side of the bed that morning!
In 2007, the University of Leeds, funded by the Danish Bacon and Food Council conducted research in to what constituted the perfect bacon sandwich. I don't understand the resulting formula, but what I do know is that it is a combination of textures, flavour, smell, crunch and overall sensation. Blimey! I do like research!
I prefer unsmoked bacon because I don't want the flavour to be overwhelmed with smokiness. I also prefer dry-cured bacon as less liquid is released when cooking. I also prefer my bacon grilled rather than fried, but that is purely a personal preference and not set in stone.
Some people insist that you should only have tomato ketchup on bacon sarnies and brown sauce on sausage sarnies. Or is it the other way around? I can never remember. Either way, I don't really care. I prefer Worcestershire Sauce, which really sets the cat amongst the bacon-sausage sandwich pigeons.
But it has to be proper bread. The real thing, not that spongy stuff you can buy from supermarkets and since I make my own bread, there is always a regular supply.
By the way, if you do care about animal welfare and food production, check out the LovePork site and look for the Red Tractor logos at your local retailers. They guarantee high standards of welfare and production throughout the whole food supply chain, from farm to plate.
Skill level: Easy
4-6 rashers of unsmoked dry-cured back bacon
2 x large free range eggs
4 x slices of fresh white bread
Worcestershire Sauce or Henderson's Relish
gherkins, diced (or fresh cucumber, deseeded and diced)
mi cuit tomatoes (or fresh baby plum tomatoes, finely sliced)
- Pre-heat the grill to its highest heat.
- If your bacon has rind, then make a few snips into the fat along each rasher. This will ensure that the rashers don't curl up when cooking and the edge of the rind crisps up.
- Place the bacon on a rack in the grill pan and grill for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread, and then add a few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce to each slice.
- Lay over some diced gherkin and mi cuit tomatoes on one slice of each sandwich.
- When the bacon is cooked to your liking, divide the bacon between each sandwich.
- Add a small knob of butter to a hot frying pan and fry the eggs to your liking. I like mine so that the whites are quite well done but the yolk is still runny.
- Top the bacon with the egg and then add rocket leaves.
- Assemble the sandwiches and eat immediately!
- No gherkins or cucumber? Use a little tartare sauce and omit the Worcestershire Sauce.
- Don't like Worcestershire Sauce? Or butter? Use a little mustard flavoured mayonnaise.