Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's The Bacon and Nothing But(tie)

Years ago, a friend and I found ourselves cold and hungry on a windy English beach. There was little there but a weatherworn hotel and an ugly old food truck that had just pulled up. Ugly, old or not, the smells from that truck said ‘food’ and we followed our noses and everyone else and queued up to order.

As we waited our turn, we noticed that there was only one kind of sandwich available and it came with a mug of strong hot tea. Beggars are not choosers and we took what the truck offered. We settled on a nearby rock and tucked into our bacon butties and sipped our English tea.

I thought about this yesterday as I watched CNN’s Anderson Cooper (broadcasting from London) take a tentative bite out of his first bacon buttie. His twisted face told a disapproving story and I was shocked (really!) that he didn’t like what he was tasting.

Now we know the English are not as a rule well known for their cuisine. But there are some things that they do really, really well and one of them is the bacon sandwich that they call a buttie.

Close your eyes. Picture a warm soft roll that’s been lightly buttered. Stuff that roll with a pile of not too crispy, not too chewy, thick cut bacon. Take a bite. Take another. No tomato, no lettuce. Just a pile of bacon, a little butter and bread to transport it to your mouth. Now that is a whole lot of Yum.

The Bacon Buttie

(makes 2 large sandwiches)

1 pound of smoked, thick cut bacon (called streaky by the English)
2 soft rolls
Softened sweet butter
Optional condiments: ketchup or steak sauce

Lay the bacon out on a low sided, silpat or foil lined baking pan
Put the pan into a cold oven.
Set the oven to 400°
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bacon is barely crispy.
Drain bacon on paper towels.
Lightly butter the rolls and pile on the bacon.

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