an ode to bacon – the secret hangover cure

It’s been quite a while since I fessed up to having a hangover in these pages. I wish that this was because I had been suitably abstemious of late, it’s more that well, I guess I hadn’t felt the need to share. But a few weeks ago I woke up on a Saturday morning with head thumping and mouth like a desert. This was bad enough until I remembered that my car was in Bondi and that I was going to have to get up and run and get it to avoid a parking fine. Far from an ideal situation.

As I lay in bed, trying to talk myself into getting up, thoughts of food passed through my head. I had planned to make some pork and fennel soup to have for lunch that day but it just felt way to healthy. Even though it did contain a pork product – one of the corner stones of any good hangover cure – I needed something else. And then it flashed into my mind. Bacon. Sweeeet bacon. Bacon would surely make me feel more human. Hang on. Even better – bacon and mayo together in a soft pannini. At last – a good reason to brave the world outside of bed.

It worked like a charm, and I knew I had to share the recipe for this magical hangover cure with you.

The secret to a killer bacon sarnie is of course, top quality bacon. If you’re lucky enough to find a butcher who slices their bacon to order like the good old boys at Hudson’s Meats, I highly recommend going for 4mm (1/8in) thick slices. They will seem like huge door steps compared to normal bacon but trust me, they’re worth it. If you have to go with presliced, just choose the best quality bacon you can find. Although to be honest, I’m sure even average bacon can still make the world a little more bearable if you are feeling the effects of the morning after the night before.

In our house, I leave the bacon cooking up to GB – my favourite Irishman. After months of experimenting he has concluded that the optimum method is to go for a low heat. This results the fat being nicely rendered and buttery and avoids it curling up and cooking unevenly. He also takes the time to grill the eye separately from the rest of the rasher so it remains lovely and flavoursome and the fatty bits can get nice and crispy.

The only thing we disagree on is the rind. GB likes his bacon without but for me it’s the best bit – especially when it goes all crispy and crackly. I love the textural contast between it and the soft bread and creamy mayo. Fortunately my bacon chef is accomodating of special requests and while he takes the time to trim his rashers, my rind is left firmly in place.

We’ve had a bit of debate about avocado. If you’re a fan it does make a lovely substitute for the butter. But it all comes down to personal taste. As does the use of rocket. For me a touch of greenery makes this saturated fat fest feel a little more permissable but I know that some will find it ruins the decadence. I’d love to hear what you guys think?

bacon sarnies

serves 2
4-6 rashers bacon approx 4mm (1/8in) thick
salted butter
whole egg mayonnaise
handful wild rocket (arugla), optional
2 soft pannini or 4 thick slices white bread

Preheat your grill or broiler on low and line with foil. Remove the eye of the bacon and start cooking the rest of the rasher, turning now and then. Add the eyes and cook until just starting to brown. Drain on paper towel and keep warm. Cook the tails until they are nice and crispy and add to the paper towel.

Halve and butter your pannini or bread and spread one side generously with mayo. Top with bacon and rocket, if using. Season generously with black pepper and then form your sandwich.

Lovely with a serious cup of milky (IBT) Irish Breakfast Tea or if things are really dire – a Bloody Mary

ps. Don’t you just love the cute little tongs in this picture. GB got them especially for turning bacon as he cooks. You’ve gotta love a man who appreciates his kitchen untensils.
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