I Heart Bacon

I’ve worn the crest of bacon proudly and held the banner aloft for many years.  In conversation, I’ve made sure that bacon has been represented well and that the merits of this delicious food have been fully discussed.  Of course, the question of sausages has arisen.  “Are sausages better?”  This has sparked nothing but passionate reiteration and the urge to eat a large breakfast barm cake.  It is only in the last five or six years that my eyes and stomach have begun to wander.  Sausages come in a variety of sizes and with diverse flavourings.  This means that the humble sausage has a lot of appeal to someone like me, who constantly looks for new things to try.  Bacon has a limited range of guises, but this does not really lessen the appeal.  Good bacon, hitting a hot pan has to be one of the kitchen’s greatest sensory moments.  The hiss of the water as the fibres in the meat release it and curl up, the sight of the edges caramelising and of course, the irresistible aroma that promises salt, fat and a satisfying chew.

BLT sandwiches are perfectly enjoyable, but I have to be honest and say that bacon is best on white bread with tomato ketchup.  No frills.  If you’ve had your hit of bacon and ketchup, you may find yourself looking for alternatives and this weekend I made a BLT that ticked plenty of boxes and kept me happy all day.  It was actually a bacon, basil and tomato sandwich.  As with all food of this sort, it is almost laughable to call the following a recipe, but I enjoyed every mouthful and really wanted to share it with you…the recipe, not the sandwich.

I fried a few slices of smoked back bacon.  While the bacon got crispy, I toasted some thick white crusty bread and smothered each slice in really good butter.  I added some mixed lettuce leaves and a great dollop of mayonnaisse before placing some halved cherry tomatoes on top.  Next I put some large fresh basil leaves on top of the tomatoes and finished with the bacon.  I wasn’t aiming to reinvent the wheel, I just wanted to use up some basil that was leftover.  I’m so glad I did!  It was a lovely addition to this classic sandwich.  

What would we do without bacon?

 

The slower, the better.

Our best intentions are challenged daily and we often find ourselves making choices we thought we wouldn’t.  This applies to food too.  When I’m tired, grumpy, or both, what sort of food do I crave?  What sort of meals do I end up preparing?  Certainly not the kind that will benefit my family or my heart.  That’s why planning meals is useful.  Shopping for specific ingredients rather than random items that may or may not make a meal or two is definitely wisest.  Even so, there are times when unplanned meals come together with the ingredients in the fridge.  That’s what happened today and the results were tasty, filling and chalked up some brownie points with my wife.  She loves it when we, “use things up”, although, if we shopped smarter, we wouldn’t need to do so!  The temptation to resort to frozen pizzas or take away is not always easy to resist when you’re exhausted.  That’s one of the battles being fought by food lovers the world over, particularly the Slow Food movement.  Today, quality food prevailed.  I wanted to sit down and eat some cake, but you’ll be glad to hear that I chose instead to fight the good fight.

I decided to make an omelette with lots of my favourite things in it.  This is a fantastic opportunity to use up various bits and bobs.  It was also a good way of getting a variety of healthy ingredients into my body without resorting to making a salad.  Nice as they can be, I’m just not a salad fan, and listening to the rain hit the windows didn’t inspire any urges for a leafy dinner.  The variations on this recipe are too numerous to list, but I definitely would have use more herbs from the garden (thyme, Greek oregano, parsley, mint, marjoram) if the rain hadn’t been bouncing off the ground.  Use what’s in and try to keep it colourful.

Mediterranean Omelette

3 or 4 large eggs

2 ripe tomatoes (sliced)

1 courgette (diced)

1 red onion (sliced)

1 onion (sliced)

2 garlic cloves (sliced)

1 handful Kalamata olives (pitted & halved)

2 tblspoons fresh basil (sliced)

1 tblspoon dried oregano

olive oil

sea salt

pepper

Use a high heat to stop the courgette becoming soggy.

Heat some oil in a frying pan or wok and fry the courgette on a high heat.  Courgettes have a high water content and low temperatures will simply allow the courgette to release that water and go soggy.  Once it begins to brown, take it off the heat and set it aside in a bowl.  Next gently fry the onion and garlic until soft and just cooked.  Don’t brown them.  Set these aside too.

Beat the eggs and season with salt, pepper and oregano.  Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil before pouring the eggs in.  Quickly add the courgette, tomatoes, basil, onion and garlic and Kalamata olives.

Do they need to be from Kalamata?  Nope.  A huge variety of olives are available.  Spanish olives are the most common, though these tend to be poor quality unless you’re willing to spend more.  Be careful.  Some companies are well aware of the desirability of Greek olives and package their Spanish produce cleverly, going as far as displaying a small Greek flag on their jars.  The easiest way to spot dodgy olives is by looking out for phrases like Greek-style olives.  Like all things, paying a little more will give you a completely different product that is worth your time.  Simple dishes rely on the quality of the ingredients.  Perhaps I’m a little too passionate about olives.  Let’s get back to the omelette.

The simpler the dish, the better the ingredients need to be.

Cook the omelette on a low heat so that it can cook through without needing to be turned over.  I’ve included red onion in the recipe for colour and because I like the fresh, sweet taste.  It doesn’t really need to be cooked.  The white onion and garlic would be overpowering if left uncooked, hence the quick fry.  Add the red onion last and grind some pepper over the omelette as it is cooking.  Once the egg has cooked through and is no longer runny on top, slide it onto a plate and season again if necessary.  I think this is a great summer meal that could be shared and eaten with salad (if you want to live your life like that).  A little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil helps it go down a treat!

Eating colourful food makes you feel good!