Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Not a Squeak!

Fritto Misto Mediterrano
Mediterranean Bubble 'n' Squeak ;-)

Left-overs. So sad that this expression was ever invented, casting perfectly good food into a negative light, creating a rather sad notion amongst many people that there is something negative about eating the same food or the same ingredients 2 days in a row. 3 Days? Oh, heavens forbid! Sigh! I am so thankful of the fact that I do not think that way. Being brought up as one of 9 children, you just don't, I guess. I like to think that I just appreciate having food- decent food, at all in a world where so many people simply do not.

I actually enjoy using the same ingredients over the course of 2-3 days and love the challenge of doing something different with them each time... it is actually a very, very cool thing to do! This meal was based on the traditional English breakfast dish called "Bubble & Squeak", which is basically the potatoes and cabbage or other greens that may be left-over from a traditional English Sunday lunch, fried-up the morning after, with bacon and eggs, all mashed together and browned-off and then drizzled with brown "HP"sauce. Nope- it doesn't sound like "haute cuisine", because it's not. But it is actually very, very delicious!!!

So, let's get things straight- there is no egg involved in this dish and there are no cooked ingredients being re-heated here- these are freshly cooked for this dish alone, but the point is that you could perfectly well used remainders of a previous meal to make this- which would actually make it a lot quicker to prepare that way!
But no- except for a couple of boiled potatoes I had in the fridge, the rest was prepared fresh... and it was prepared like this...

The first thing I did was to peel away the tough and dirty outer leaves from the sprouts, to cut off the stalk ends and to cut them into 3, giving me flat slices of the sprouts which would cook-through more quickly and easily- and also the flat surface would brown off so much more easily and of course this is what gives them so much good flavor!

I put the sprout slices into a frying pan with just enough water to coat the base, then turned up the heat and let them bubble away until the water had soaked into the sprouts and softened them but otherwise evaporated away. At this point I added a handful of finely chopped bacon and seasoned with just a little salt, plenty of pepper and a little nutmeg. I let the bacon get hot and begin to brown slightly and then added 2 finely chopped Spring onions and 2 small, boiled potatoes which I mashed down with a fork. You don't want the potato to be too soft, otherwise it will disintegrate completely and not brown- and that is what it is all about now!

Once the potato and onion were in, I added a little bit of finely chopped garlic, a good scattering of rosemary and then 2 further new ingredients- sun dried tomato and black olives. With just a little bit more nutmeg, and the added herbs, the potatoes really came into their own and the sprouts began to caramelize and become deep golden brown and totally sweet and delicious- yum!

It did take a short while, but after 9-10 minutes, the sprouts were toasty and brown, the bacon crunchy, the onion nicely blended with the potatoes and rosemary and full of great flavor. Up until this point, I had added no extra fat for frying- the small amount of fat in the bacon had made for a healthier, crispier way to "fry" these and had of course helped to retain all of the individual flavors of the ingredients. But by now it WAS looking just a tad dry- so I added a light squeeze of lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil, to make sure everything was lightly "dressed"... and then onto a serving dish to be ready to be enjoyed!

The tangy sun-dried tomatoes do the job that the "HP" sauce would do back in jolly old England and it is the tanginess of the tomatoes that goes so well with the mixed vegetables... I really hope you will like it as much as I did! But I am not going to lose any sleep over it, as I am pretty sure that you will! ;-)

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