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Sep 23, 2006 11:18 PM

How to prepare and serve English rasher bacon?

I bought some English rasher bacon for the first time at a specialty market. The counter person helping me wasn't that knowledgeable and the head butcher was busy, so I couldn't inquire about usage. I believe this rasher bacon comes from the loin, so it is much leaner and more of a round shape than streaky American bacon. It has the look and texture of ham, and I believe it's cooked through since I had a bite.

So how should I prepare this? From some initial web searching, I'm thinking I should fry it like regular bacon. I suppose I'll need to use some fat and press a bit since it has the reputation of curling up on the sides, and I want it nicely browned.

What should I serve it with? I don't know much about English breakfasts, but I have the image of a ploughman's breakfast in my head...eggs, bacon, potatoes (or beans?), tomatoes? I definitely have lots of tomatoes to use up. Are the tomatoes roasted whole or what? Are the potatoes usually in hash brown form or diced or?

Please help me put a nice little Sun. brunch feast together to showcase this rasher bacon. Thanks!

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  1. I always thought rasher bacon was the other stuff - like our bacon or what the Brits call "streaky bacon." But in any event, what you've got is what we call Canadian bacon (and the Canadians call back or pea bacon, IIRC.) I though the Brits just called that plain old bacon, but what do I know?

    Like ham "steaks", it's either cooked or cured so all you want to do is heat it through and, if you like, let it get a bit brown in spots. But it will turn dry, crispy and nasty very quickly, so be careful.

    I've never heard of beans as part of the middle class version of a "classic English breakfast", though beans on toast is, or used to be, a big children's/comfort food/economizing teatime or supper dish. But grilled/broiled tomato halves and enough toast to choke a horse would definitely qualify as "authentic." It's been a long time since I was England, I don't even remember if I had potatoes or not. But oh, yes, sausage, too.

    Then there's all that kippers, kidneys, etc business if you really want to go all out...

    1. the full "fry-up" would be this bacon,along with sausages, griddled rounds of both black and white pudding, maybe mushrooms and a half grilled tomato, eggs, and beans and toast. when i was visiting a friend in glasgow, we'd get these breakfast kits from a butcher with rashers of bacon, the black and white pudding, sausages, and eggs. it would also come with these flat griddle cakes, which they call potato scones. the butcher told us one day that he was out of the little cans of baked beans, but still had some spaghettios. spaghettios! for breakfast!

      anyways i'm not sure how readily available good black or white pudding is, but i'd at least get some nice sausages to go with your bacon. and fry those tomatoes up, too.

      1. I just had the "King Size" breakfast at a British pub this morning and it included:

        -something that sounded a lot like your rashers, fried up like bacon and draped around a banger/sausage.
        -potatoes, cubed and fried with onions like home fries
        -Heinz baked beans
        -two slices of tomatoes, grilled or pan fried til slightly blackened around the edges
        -sauteed button mushrooms
        -plenty of toast
        -eggs over easy

        A pot of tea and some blood sausage on the side was perfect for two.

        1. I've never been served beans on toast or white/black pudding for breakfast in England (this spans a period from the mid 60's to the present). The typical English breakfast includes crispy fried eggs, thick toast, bangers, English bacon (which is not like U.S. bacon or Canadian bacon), broiled tomato, maybe sauteed mushrooms. Extremely yummy!

          1. The new multicultural Britain notwithstanding, there are differences when it comes to think as basic as breakfast food.;) The second breakfast sounds suspiciously Irish, rather than English, and dear god, you can expect anything from the culture that brought use deep-fried Mars bars.LOL

            Can you describe this "English bacon"? Is it loin or belly? Is it a relatively subtle difference or a major one?

            5 Replies
            1. re: MikeG

              i'm not sure if by "the second breakfast" you were referring to my post, but yes, these breakfasts were eaten in ireland and scotland, not in england.

              1. re: augustiner

                yeah, a "traditional" irish breakfast is eggs (whatever style), french fries or home fries, bacon (rashers), irish sausage, black pudding, white pudding and toast. sometimes you get a fried tomato, sometimes not. beans are usually on the side and ordered separately.
                you can get even more specific--like an ulster fry would be served with some changes to the above and the addition of potato bread!

                1. re: ceeceee

                  The name for potato bread is potato farl. This is made from mashed potato and flour, rolled out and baked on a bakestone or heavy frying pan. Eaten when hot with butter. Wonderful.

                  1. re: Cakehole

                    i absolutely love it as well. and so simple.

              2. re: MikeG

                The bacon I was served most frequently in England was definitely from the belly, but not exactly the same cut as we have in the U.S. You have to remove the rind and a little tiny round bone before you eat it.