Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fried Salami, Egg, Cheese and Hot Sauce Sandwich

The demise of the 24 hour supermarket in my town has meant that my drunken culinary adventurousness is very much constrained by what I soberly purchase during office hours.
This, perhaps, isn't such a bad thing. I find supermarkets to be cathartic places (when attended at less populous hours) and the last thing I need is to be walking around one knowing I'd been stumbling around the same isles, in the early hours, endlessly comparing cheeses. I do not need fear here.
Now I purchase one or two items per trip with no predetermined plan in mind, only to hide them at the back of the fridge for the hungry late night adventurer to discover and decide the best path for.

I've felt that I haven't been maximising the potential of the salami in my sandwich. I'd mostly used it as a replacement for 'plainer' meats, the flavour is wonderful but if you're not careful in your layering, it can drag out all the other contents on the first bite. I wanted to see if it'd be a good addition to a sandwich when in a crisped up condition.

Was it?

Was. It. Fuck.

Here's what went into one of the best decisions of my life:

  • White bread. Always the best option for fried sandwiches. Grains and seeds and shit just confuse matters. If you don't want to use a standard sliced loaf like this, a harder sourdough or tiger bread loaf will work great too. Those breads actually work best when they're a couple of days out of date as they're harder and crisp up a lot better. Obviously don't let shit get to the mouldy point. That's not gonna do any of us any favours. 
  • Hot Sauce. I used this Encona Hot Pepper Sauce, it's got a savage kick off it from Habanero and Scotch Bonnet Peppers but its fruity flavour always manages to sneak a few points past that defence. 
  • The cheese was the always reliable and delicious Kilmeaden cheddar. Buy a block and grate it yourself. It just tastes better that way.
  • The salami was Italian made, very important to buy Italian in this regard. 
  • The egg, if you needed to know, was straight from the arse of a well treated Cill Dara chicken. Up the Lilies, Kildare for Sam.

I'm not a big fan of messing around. Three frying pans was in no way excessive for this operation. It was simply what I needed to get the job done.

  •  The grey pan up the front is my primary, this is where the bread goes. It has the largest surface area and is closest to me for easy flipping/catchment of spillage.
  • My secondary pan is the white fella. This is for the salami. It's positioned at the back, and please bare with my attention to positioning detail, it's of the utmost importance. Salami has the potential to spit like a scumbag kangaroo so you don't want to get burned, keep it away from you. It will also, in the moments leading up to its transcendence into crispy glory, start to smoke like an aul lad after mass so you want it under the extractor fan as much as possible with the least possibility of it hitting the general air population/smoke alarm and alerting other inhabitants to your exploits.
  • Frying pan numero trois is for the egg. I could have done this in the salami pan but it's currently experiencing a suspension issue, causing the egg to flow to the edge and fry in an awkward shape.

The standard operating procedure when it comes to frying a sandwich is low and slow. A low temperature pan for a longer time will achieve the 5 star outside crispness in tandem with complete inside meltiness. 
1. Butter one side of the bread, this side hits the pan. 
2. Mayonnaise the other side. 
3. Cheese on top of that. 
4. Slice of bread on top of that. 
5. Butter the slice of bread you're now looking it. 
6. Check after a couple of minutes. If it looks good, flip it. 
7. Check the second side after just 1 minute, because of some science trickery it seems to cook quicker. 

Hot pan for the salami, no oil needed, you want to remove some of the oil that's already in the meat. Flip regularly and watch carefully, this will burn quick. You'll know when it's done because it'll attain the rigidity of a thick crisp and the smell of Willy Wonka's Factory had he been raised by pig farmers. 

The egg I fried in coconut oil because my health is my wealth. 

Scheduling the 3 frying pan cook off isn't difficult, the salami can start the same time as the bread. It'll cook quicker but it'll keep well on a sheet of kitchen paper. The egg, I cracked when I flipped the bread, you'll want it with a runny yolk when it lands on the inside...

Now its time to move fast, split the sandwich apart in its pan and lash some hot sauce on one side and the crisped salami on the other. The egg then joins these two powerhouses together, try not to break the yolk like I did.

There's beauty hiding between that bread.

Well now... If that doesn't strike you as one of the most beautiful visions you have ever seen, head somewhere else because the rest of this post is just an excuse for gratuitous close ups. 
But first. Taste. It had ALL the taste. It had everything. Perfectly fried and crispy bread encasing melted cheese infused with mayonnaise on one side. A nicely balanced hot sauce getting only slightly aggressive on the other side... When all of a sudden the greatest noise and simultaneous burst of flavour you've ever experienced inside your own head blindsides you with the first crunch of the salami. It's like meat and crisps in one. I'll repeat that, it's like meat and crisps in one fucking thing... But we don't even have time to give that the attention it deserves because the egg yolk has just ruptured... the bland egg white doesn't stand a chance.. it has to join in the party... The hot sauce is swinging from the ceiling... The room is going wild... I'm out of breath... 
I think you get what I'm trying to give you. This sandwich was all kinds of right.

Of course I went for round 2. I had a little look see for some cheese slices to increase the odds a bit. I had one. It'd have to do.

 I made myself a little crisp to nibble on out of some spare grated cheese until number two was ready to go... and by Christ, was it...

It gets better...

A cheese slice was a good move. A cheese slice is always a good move.
I've nothing more to say on the matter.
Until next time. 

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mediterranean Wrap with out of date Kebab Sauce

I think it was a combination of the cold and miserable weather, my advancing years, the 4 cans of Strongbow stewing in my gut and the absolute certainty that no one in their right mind would be going for midweek pints that made me stop 100m down the road, utter 'fuck this' to no soul in particular and head back home to fire whatever remnants of food were around into a sandwich.

I went for a ramble around Dunnes the other evening looking for wraps to test out my new €17 George Foreman Grill knock off (Spoiler: It's a ball of shite). They'd none of the standard plain ones left but I did spot these yokes. In standard Dunnes own brand fashion they're not about to spark off any seismic sensory overload in the taste or texture department but the most important thing in this instance was their structural integrity which was near Volvo standard.

On a separate expedition I picked up a bottle of Paul Newman's Caesar dressing on the basis that I really liked him in the Towering Inferno. Also on the agenda was a sliced tomato, grated cheese, a bit of mixed salad and red onion along with a bottle of Kebab Sauce that I picked up a good while ago in un supermarché en France and had been saving for a special occasion. Unfortunately when I checked the date it was a month past its best but in the interest of "I didn't suffer through a 19 hour ferry from France to fuck it in the bin without tasting it first" it still got squirted into the sandwich.

The pictured amount of cheese went onto the meat of the sandwich, 4 hardy, chopped up, chicken goujons, along with some mayo and hot sauce. This went into the oven to melt. I then decided that I wanted more cheese so I grated up a similar dosage to go in the sandwich cold because I still live in a free country.

A couple of minutes in the oven was enough to warm this wrap which was openable (I'm using it in a sentence so it's a word) in a pitta style, before I started building up the salads on a base of Caesar Sauce. A drizzle of the (almost certainly rancid) Kebab Sauce topped off this chapter.

Next the cold bonus cheese got piled on.

Finally the warm, melty gooey mess of the chicken with melted cheese, 
mayo and hot sauce was slid on to complete the travesty. 

For a delivery device that has the thickness of 2 green Rizla's the Mediterranean Wrap held together to the bitter (that kebab sauce again) end. Again not much in the line of spectacular taste or flair, but it did what was asked of it. 
Since I have no point of reference as to what this particular Kebab Sauce should taste like in its prime all I can remark upon is its strong garlicy flavour, whether or not it was meant to be like that I'm not sure but it certainly didn't put me off finishing this sandwich. Paul Newman's Sauce should be applied with extreme caution, though, not with a 16 year old lashing on the Joop degree that I went to. It's overpowering to say the least and probably not the best addition to a sandwich, but 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' as the fella says.

B.S. x

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Loaded Breakfast Muffin

The best way to start tackling a bastard of a hangover is quite obviously with breakfast, regardless of the time of day you get around to consuming it. I'm fond of a good breakfast sandwich. And by good I obviously mean full of absolute shite.
The filled breakfast muffin is a popular item in the U.S and has been brought to a certain level of worldwide acclaim/notoriety/indifference by the mega stars of the fast food industry... If you like your eggs delivered in a shape and texture similar to that of an empty tin of shoe polish stick to the big lads. I, on the other hand, like to take the best parts of their breakfast and combine it with the best parts of ours.

Obviously while a lot of the sandwiches I make are influenced by my own hangover or with the average hangover sufferer in mind and thus it's generally accepted that they'd be consumed while alone in a darkened room it's perfectly acceptable to eat them in the company of friends and family.
Not this mess though.
Please assure that you are utterly alone should you ever plan to eat one of these.
My quest to find a bread that will contain the contents of this boxset of arterial damnation adequately so that it doesn't shatter under the weight of its own depravity without sacrificing on overall taste continues... I will always prioritise the quality (I mean taste) of food over the ability to consume it with dignity in the company of others. This lad is gonna disintegrate in your hands and you'll have to accept that you're gonna be sucking melted cheese mixed with rasher juice and egg yolk off each and every one of your glistening knuckles.

I've done a fairly significant amount of research into the subtleties and nuances of the perfect breakfast sandwich, so much so that I probably don't need to worry too much about saving into a pension account, and what I quickly realised is that this is an arena with many possibilities and no outright winner. Feel free, obviously says you, to change or add anything should you attempt this sandwich, this is merely one of my favourites. One word of warning though, I'll explain more later and it'll sound quite unusual coming from me: "Don't triple the cheese".

The ingredients of this particular equation are:
  • A Breakfast Muffin
  • 2 Slices of Processed Cheese
  • 2 Sausages (plain ones, nothing fancy)
  • 1 Rasher
  • 3 Hash Browns (small)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Thin Slices of White Pudding
Two notable absentees from the list are Black Pudding and any sauce. While I like black pudding in a fry up or in the odd breakfast roll, I find it has too strong and overpowering a flavour for the majority of breakfast sandwiches. There's no sauce because cheese is my sauce, baby.      

I'll presume that it is within your capabilities to fry up these few bits. (The hash browns are in doing a bit of time in the oven)

Pull the muffin apart with your hands instead of cutting it, it makes for a much nicer toast.

Now I'm not saying you have to but if you felt the need after you'd toasted your muffin to sit both sides face down in the hot frying pan so they soaked up the grease and flavours from the rasher, sausages and pudding that have recently been cooked there, I for one certainly wouldn't judge you.

Now that everything is cooked we face the difficult part... The Assembly...

I'm not currently in possession of a degree in engineering but I doubt it would make much difference to the structural integrity of this sandwich if I was. This is not staying together for long. You really need to build quick and eat even quicker... The cheese I used here being a double edged sword... For the first 30 to 60 seconds, while the cheese is in the first phase of it's melt, it'll act like a glue. Any longer than this (as it approaches its near perfect liquid phase) and it'll only serve to lubricate the constituents of the sandwich and they'll slide apart. I mentioned earlier about not tripling the cheese; This sandwich looks to me anyway, like it could handle more cheese. It can't. I've made these with 3 slices and that much just distracts from all the pig meat you should be savouring equally. That and the fact that the particular budget priced fast melting brand I use state on the packaging that each slice is only 48% cheese. Not that I worry too much about that side of things but... 48%?!

 Right, on with the building. After I'd toasted and grease soaked my muffin I went with a sturdy base of hash browns, a slice of 48%, the sausage and then a rasher...

On top of that went a fried egg (this is actually one of my better looking fried eggs), another slice of glue and finally the white pudding before I closed it up...

I don't know if this strikes you as a thing of beauty but for me it doesn't get any better. The melted cheese clinging onto the egg white giving it a purpose in life, the egg yolk mixing with the white pudding, the delicious but massively underrated combination of sausage and hash brown doing their own little cheesey dance all the while the rasher is in the middle just being an absolute rasher... And then after one bite it all falls apart to shite... It matters not a jot though, just get stuck in with your two hands, and hopefully, if you've taken my advice, nobody is watching.
Now I ate this yesterday and, admittedly, though I don't feel great now I'll put that down to the fact that apart from 4 pints, a few cans and an off license impulse purchase of something vaguely apple flavoured called a "Nutron"* this was the sole nutrition to enter my body in the last 24 hours.

*I have it on good authority that the 'Nutr' in "Nutron" has fuck all to do with Nutrition.

Anyway, chance it, the sandwich, not the test tube yoke, just maybe eat an actual apple or something later on...

- Boozey Swine

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hot Dogs Both Ways (Sober and Drunk)

I and, I think I'd be right in assuming, a lot of other Irish people have a complicated relationship with hot dogs. They don't offend me, I like them, but I eat them quite rarely in comparison to the other fast food staples. Put this down to their lack of availability, comparatively speaking to other countries where they're on every corner and in every shop, or the fact that most chippers make an absolute hames of them by thinking lettuce and red sauce are appropriate combination of toppings and by burning the absolute bollox out of the dog in the deep fat fryer, if you'll excuse the imagery.
Personally I want something more substantial and a burger is always going to fill that void over a hot dog anyday.... But I do like the occasional hot dog... and I think they can be something better so this is where that journey begins.
Unknown hours (likely in the region of 2) of research were spent running videos past my eyes and reading recipes and tutorials about 'The Perfect Hot Dog' before I landed at this, my main event of Hot Dogs (we'll get to my other, drunken, variety later on), a combination of a few of the best ways of eating hot dogs out there which I rolled into one super dog and proceeded to double in size and package in a common as muck roll.
I guarantee if you eat one of these you'll never go back to a simple dog again.

At first glance some of the techniques in this operation may seem a little excessive, but trust me, they all serve a purpose, so stick with me...

Round 1: Sober.
Let's address exactly what this beast is right from the start: 2 hot dogs stuffed with processed cheese, wrapped in bacon, fried in a load of onions and green peppers, laid down on a bed of the aforementioned bacon infused vegetables along with some mayonnaise, topped off with the traditional red sauce and mustard all encased in a freshly baked baguette.

The ingredients are very straight forward; your sauces, onion and pepper, streaky rashers, hot dogs of your choosing, a standard aul par baked baguette (the stuff of bread purists horrors) and shit cheese... I say 'shit' cheese, firstly because that's a fact but more so because I've recently come to realise for functions such as this, where quick and consistent melting is paramount, the cheaper and lesser known the brand name the better. The brand name I'm using escapes me but I'm picking up slices regularly from a German dealer in town for a unit cost of 7.5cent when bought in 10's. You'll also need some cocktail sticks to hold the rashers in place.

Carefully slicing a hot dog length-ways and shoving bits of, what can doubtfully be legally considered, cheese into it is not the most satisfying or glamorous thing you're ever going to do in a kitchen but persevere with it.

Wrap a rasher around it and stick a cocktail stick through both ends to hold it in place.
(A sentence I never envisioned typing) 

Set those lads off with a bit of oil in a hot pan. Now is also a good time to tell you that you should have put that baguette in the oven before even touching the hot dogs.

Chop up about half an onion and half a pepper per double hot dog roll.

Fire them into the pan along with the hot dogs. Don't be concerned about cheese leakage (another sentence I never thought I'd type), it'll either burn and crisp into the rashers or get lost in the mix of peppers, onions and rasher grease that's all going to end up in your roll anyway.

One of these baguettes takes about 10 minutes in the oven to hit optimal breadness, leaving it to chill out for at least 5 minutes afterwards ensures you won't get severely burned and more importantly the roll won't disintegrate in your hand when you go to cut into it. I suggest cracking a bottle of Finkbrau from the aforementioned German dealer (from which I received no commercial incentive to mention) while you wait. Slice it open and get very generous with the mayonnaise.

When the rashers look cooked and nice 'n' crispy you're ready to roll, if you'll pardon the pun. Get them out of the pan and remove all the cocktail sticks, you'll have a bad day otherwise. 

When the peppers and onions are tender and a little brown you know you're good to go.

Load them into the roll.

Hold that gloriously bacon and cheese infused veg in place with the 2 hot dogs laid end to end on top.

Top with the traditional combo of American mustard and red sauce. Serve with a freezing cold beer and thank me for the next 5 to 7 minutes of Heaven that you're about to experience....

Round 2: Drunk.
And then, unsurprisingly, after my evenings business was attended to and a few pints were consumed down my local, I arrived home with the urge for a bit of grub pestering me...

Now I have it ingrained in myself not to operate any more kitchen equipment than is absolutely necessary while mildly, or otherwise, intoxicated. If you can get away with just operating an oven and leaving the hot frying pan out of your life then I thoroughly recommend it for the well being of yourself and the fellow occupants of your home.

It's highly unlikely, at the stage of the night, that you'll be arsed with all that stuffing cheese into the hot dog carry on. The drunken gut wants strong flavours, hot spices, cheese and none of your fancy stuff. Quickly and with as little hassle as is drunkenly or humanly possible bake a roll and then put a few slices of cheese into it arranged like above...

You can be sure I still wanted fried onions though so I compromised and chopped some up onto a plate and poured a little olive oil and black pepper over them then threw them into the oven along with the cheesed up roll for a few minutes to heat and melt all that stuff nicely.

Then as I put the onions on top of the cheese I remembered I had Tabasco Sauce. Ace.

After I destroyed the onions with Tabasco I lashed on a load of mayo and threw in 2 hot dogs that I microwaved to perfection, and topped it all off with the obligatory mustard and red sauce. This was an utter success, I'd be only delighted to eat it sober. The only problem I had was I still wasn't full and I was out of baguettes.... And there was only one measly slice of bread left...

The Bonus Round: Desperation.

I think you see where this is going. One slice of bread, toasted, cut in half, topped with a folded over slice of cheese on each side, onions, pepper and olive oil and into the oven....

Then topped it off in the now familiar manner....

And if my memory serves me correctly, there wasn't a damn thing on Earth wrong with this effort either... 

Hot dogs are great, we just need to, as a nation, put a little bit more effort and imagination into what we do with them, it's not that hard at all to make them feel a little more special... They're back on the menu in my world...

Boozey Swine

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rasher Sandwich - An Exercise in Hangover Obliteration.

This post was originally written for, and published on, 'The Thread' in June 2014. It is an update/extra strength version of  My Favourite Rasher Sandwich...

Streaky Bacon
White Cheddar Cheese, sliced.
Red Cheddar Cheese, grated.
Cream Cheese.
1 bread roll with plenty of backbone.

I'm fond of a rasher sandwich. Quite fond indeed.
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon, in my less than humble opinion,  the perfect combination of ingredients to make the best rasher sandwich you will ever eat. It's very simple; White cheddar (not melted), rocket and a bit of mayo on a soft, white, lightly toasted roll.
I'm not changing my stance on that one inch but today I've taken a slightly different angle on that sandwich and stepped it up a notch. A fairly unhealthy notch. 
I, from time to time, suffer from a brand of hangover that can only be described as 'hollow', both in the physical and psychological sense and I need something all encapsulating to fill that void. Grease and cheese tends to work. 
Rasher sandwiches form an all too significant part of my diet. They're by no means reserved for the aftermaths of heavy sessions, but on occasions such as this they need to be persuaded to go the extra mile by adding just a little more propellant. Propellant in this instance being more cheese, more types of cheese and much more of the staple known as bacon...

The first step on this journey is to get those rashers into the grill. As this calls for a lot of them I've gone with the streaky ones. 7 of them. With a less weapons grade sandwich I'd tend to go with a lesser amount of regular rashers but that's not what I'm dealing with here.

Picking the right roll is important. I went with a crustier roll than I normally would just because I knew anything less would disintegrate with the amount of shite that'll be going into this. 

I normally wouldn't put any sauce on one of these sandwiches, I usually use mayonnaise but its purpose is purely for lubrication and not for any added flavour. I've left the mayo in the fridge altogether this time and left the lubricating side of things to something that kinda looks like coleslaw. But it ain't coleslaw. I decided to mix half a tub of cream cheese with a shit load of grated cheddar. I don't know if this is a thing people do but I can certainly live with my decision.

When the rashers were nearing the top of their game I threw the roll in to give it a bit of a warm....

...then took a lot of pleasure in lashing on that creamy cheese mess.

Then the real fun begins...

A good solid underlay of rashers followed by a carpet of sliced white cheddar cheese.

 And repeat. I can attest that cold, i.e not melted, white cheddar on top of rashers is just about the nicest flavour sensation there is.

A load of rocket goes on the top half of the cheesed up roll and the work is over...

 Just serve it up with a well iced fizzy drink of choice, I recommend a nice rock shandy for this trip...

The point of a hangover cure is to provide complete distraction from all of its symptoms. If you've made this right you're entire being should be consumed by the cheese and rasher overload. If you can count backwards from 10 you haven't put enough of something on there. This should hopefully get you to the place you want be before you get that all important nights sleep (the cheese will work wonders in that department too) that with any luck will have you back to your old self the following morning/afternoon.

Boozey Swine.

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