Some things go just naturally together. You hear so often about colours that do or do not go together. Fashion revolves around colours and shapes, shades and cuts. Music is all about harmony and rhythm. So too with food. Food revolves around pairings and teamwork – flavour matchings, some forced, some natural, some accidental. Art is all about shades, textures, lines and colour matching. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and beauty is all around us. It is here in Bonnie Lalley’s painting, capturing the delicate association of three wonders of nature – highlighting the vibrancy of three ingredients that magically meld together on the plate. Pork, mushrooms, garlic. And for me, of all the great cuts that the fabulous creature that is the pig supplies to our world, bacon is undoubtedly one item I could not live without.
Bonnie’s painting reminded me of one of my favourite special brunch dishes. Please try it and wallow in the way nature brings trios of tastes to our palates.
Sautéed mushrooms on garlic toast with a parmesan cream
For the mushrooms
A knob of butter
A drizzle olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 handfuls of mushrooms of your choice, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
A handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
A sprig fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the parmesan cream
200ml7fl oz double cream
40g/1½oz parmesan, finely grated
For the toast
4 thick slices of rustic bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 garlic clove, halved
For the bacon and eggs
4 slices smoked streaky bacon
1 tbsp vinegar
2 free-range eggs
2 sprigs parsley, to garnish
For the mushrooms, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter, olive oil and shallots. Fry for 2-3 minutes until softened then add the mushrooms. Increase the heat and fry the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden-brown around the edges. De-glaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits, the stir in the herbs. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.
For the parmesan cream, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over a medium heat then whisk in the parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until reduced to a thick sauce consistency. Keep warm.
For the toast, preheat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and toast on the griddle pan until crisp and golden-brown on both sides. Rub one side of each piece of toast with the garlic. Set aside and keep warm. Keep the griddle pan hot.
For the bacon and eggs, griddle the bacon rashers in the same pan you used for the toast until crisp and then set aside and keep warm.
Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer and pour in the vinegar. Crack the eggs into ramekins or cups and tip them gently into the water. Cook for 2 minutes or until the white is opaque and the yolk cooked to your liking- for me the eggs have to be soft and ready to run! Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, place the toast on serving plates, top with the mushrooms then the egg and lay over the bacon, spoon over the cream sauce and finish with a sprig of parsley.
These are ingredients that go together that were made for each other.
Just like Bonnie’s painting and my recipe!