Delicious and easy, peasy one-pan dish that sailors eat at sea

Six-ingredient supper: it's an egg in a hole

 

I was a commercial fisherman for 20 years. I left school on the Friday and went to sea on the Saturday, so it was a real induction into hard work. In the early days the boats were damp and uncomfortable. You could be at sea for days at a time and there were no mobiles, videos or satellite TV, so food really was the only true comfort.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times, with food-related articles in all our sections, plus reader events, competitions and exclusive content at irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times, with food-related articles in all our sections, plus reader events, competitions and exclusive content at irishtimes.com/foodmonth

Breakfast was our most important meal of the day. For the first haul you would be up at daybreak and have a quick cup of coffee to start the day. You wouldn’t have breakfast until the decks were cleared and the fish were stowed.

In rough weather, being lashed by a cold, freezing spray, sometimes the waft of the breakfast cooking was the only thing that would cheer you up.

Just like in so many situations, good food made for a happy crew. It was so important to eat well and get proper comfort from the food.

Cooking at sea was not the easiest of tasks, especially in the galley of a rolling fishing boat, so you had to be really practical. The bread kept the eggs from moving around in the pan. It was delicious too, so always a hit.

Here is a fancier, land-based version suitable for a quick, easy meal at any time of day.

What you’ll need and how to cook it

Bacon lardons
Egg
Bread of choice
Black pudding
Butter
Cheddar cheese

Fry some bacon lardons and thinly sliced black pudding and set aside. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.

Take two slices of good quality bread, lay the slices of black pudding on the bread and close the sandwich.

Take a glass or cutter and cut a hole in the centre of bread (approximately 6cm).

Add a knob of butter to the pan and on a low-medium heat begin to fry the sandwich. (You can fry the cut out circle to eat alongside). Fry on one side until golden, then flip the sandwich.

Crack an egg into the hole and let it cook. Grate some cheese over the top (whatever is your preference, mine is a mature Irish cheddar).

Serve sprinkled with the bacon lardons and a relish of choice.

Artie Clifford is chairman of Blás na hEireann food awards

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