Wednesday, July 20, 2011

English Breakfast

Before going to England, I often heard talk of how bland the food was. But, truth be told, I actually found that I really liked English food. Yes, it isn't as strong a flavor as some people prefer in America, but the heavy international influence means that there are strong flavors to be had if you want it.

But even the traditional, "blander" meals are quite flavorful, and very simple, too. For example, the traditional English Breakfast, which we were served almost every day of our trip. The traditional English breakfast includes scrambled eggs, sauteed mushrooms, hashbrowns, grilled tomatoes, sausage, bacon (English bacon, not the wimpy American stuff), baked beans, toast, and tea (of course). It is a big meal and very filling, designed to get you through the whole workday.

I'll admit that I didn't much care for the English sausages, though I'm not a big sausage person in general. The bacon was way better than ours, more meaty, closer to ham. The baked beans were pretty good.

But. But...

The things I LOVED about the breakfast were the grilled tomatoes and the sauteed mushrooms. Seriously, they are perfect for breakfast, and now that I think about mushrooms as a breakfast food, I wonder why I never thought of them before. I can't think of a better compliment to eggs than the mushrooms. Perfect.

So, if you'd like to give your breakfasts an international flair, try making some sauteed mushrooms or grilled tomatoes.

Here's what I do:
After the eggs have been cooked (here I made a simple omelet with chard in it) add a touch of olive oil to the hot pan, mix in cut mushrooms. Lightly salt and pepper them. Once they are just lightly sauteed, take them out.

Meanwhile, cut tomatoes into thick slices, or for smaller tomatoes just cut in half. Just as soon as the mushrooms have left the pan, put the tomatoes in. Lightly salt and pepper them then turn them over. If the pan is hot, the time it takes to salt and pepper them will be perfect. After another 30 seconds, take them off the pan. The idea is to heat them up quickly and not over cook them. They get sweet and warm, and are the perfect compliment to the eggs and mushrooms.

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