Paul Flynn: Posh bacon and cabbage

Rack of bacon with creamed cabbage, and a dish with eggs, potatoes, cheese and onion: flavours as familiar as a bag of Tayto

Roast rack of bacon, creamed cabbage, mustard and apple

Roast rack of bacon, creamed cabbage, mustard and apple

 

The West Waterford Festival of Food normally takes place this weekend, but sadly not this year. We’ve had a blast being part of it over the years, proudly hosting many famous chefs in the Tannery.

There are some great stories about the food, the people and the after-hours shenanigans. Most notably, a late night with English chef and restaurateur Fergus Henderson watching an archive recording of the 2004 Munster final between Cork and Waterford. I was determined to show him the glories of hurling. The crowd watching with us roared as passionately as they did on the day of the match. Bewildered, he was like a man trapped in a joyous, smoky twilight zone.

My favourite part of the festival is the Sunday market in the square. We miraculously almost always get good weather and the town feels like the centre of the universe. There is always so much great produce on offer and this week's recipes are a tribute to those who grow and rear it.

April for me is all about wild garlic, when its delicious funk permeates the kitchen. I gather it by the bagful, ideally before it flowers. It gets a gentle wash, then I blend it with some light olive oil. The result is a verdant, heady mixture that will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. It’s ubiquitous in my kitchen for about a month. It’s stunning in a broth with mussels or crab. It lifts a roast chicken, with a little squeeze of lemon. It even finds its way into our mashed potatoes.

I’m keeping it local with my recipes this week, in homage to the West Waterford Festival of Food. In 2021 the festival will be back, bigger and better than ever, we hope.

Roast rack of bacon is a real treat. Cooking anything on the bone always gives extra flavour, and the cabbage is a bit of a one-pot wonder. 

Frittata is a crowd pleaser. Eggs, potatoes, cheese and onion: flavours as familiar as a bag of Tayto. The wild garlic elevates it, but don’t fret if you can’t get it.

The Caesar-dressed broccoli is a quick fix. Use tenderstem if you wish and substitute Parma ham or sliced roast beef, or even leftover roast chicken, for our local corned beef. It’s a lovely starter or more substantial meal with some new potatoes.  

ROAST RACK OF BACON, CREAMED CABBAGE, MUSTARD AND APPLE

Serves four

Ingredients
1 x 4 chop rack of bacon (approximately 1kg)
250ml water
1 small head Savoy cabbage, trimmed and finely sliced
Salt and pepper
300ml chicken stock
1 red apple, cored and sliced
170ml cream
1 tbsp English mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

Method

1 Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius or gas mark 3.

2 Put the rack of bacon on a roasting tin, skin side up. Add 250ml water to the tin and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

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3 Meanwhile put the cabbage into a pot with the chicken stock, apple, salt and black pepper.

4 Place a lid firmly on top and bring the cabbage to a fierce boil.

5 After three minutes or so, add the cream and mustard and continue to cook with the lid off so that the liquid reduces and makes a sauce around the cabbage. Reserve and set aside.

6 To finish the bacon, pour the maple syrup (or honey) over the top and put it back in the oven for a further 15 minutes or so to caramelise.

7 Allow the bacon to rest a little, then serve with the creamed cabbage and some potatoes.

Caesar dressed purple sprouting broccoli with McGrath’s corned beef
Caesar-dressed purple sprouting broccoli with McGrath’s corned beef

CAESAR-DRESSED PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI WITH MCGRATH’S CORNED BEEF

Serves four

Ingredients
1 small ciabatta loaf, torn into chunks
A good drizzle of olive oil
12 cherry vine tomatoes
400g purple sprouting broccoli (you can also use tenderstem)
170ml cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of ½ a lemon
80g Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper
12 slices McGrath’s corned beef (or Parma ham, sliced roast beef or leftover roast chicken)

Method

1 Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, or equivalent.

2 Place the bread and tomatoes on a roasting tin and cook until the bread is golden, keeping an eye on the tomatoes so they don’t overcook.

3 Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the broccoli for three minutes or so, depending on the thickness of the stems. 

4 Plunge the cooked broccoli into iced water, then dry on a clean tea-towel.

5 Put the cream into a bowl, stir in half the grated Parmesan, the garlic and the lemon juice. 

6 Season with salt and pepper and when ready to serve, turn the broccoli in the dressing.

7 Serve everything together in a pretty way and scatter the remaining Parmesan on top.

Cheese, onion and wild garlic frittata
Cheese, onion and wild garlic frittata

CHEESE, ONION AND WILD GARLIC FRITTATA

Serves four

Ingredients
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped roughly
A splash of olive oil
A knob of butter (50g)
8 cooked and sliced new potatoes
8 eggs, beaten with a little milk and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp wild garlic puree
100g grated Cheddar cheese

Method

1 Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, gas mark 4 or equivalent.

2 Gently cook the red onions and spring onions in the oil and the butter, in an oven-proof non-stick pan.

Add the sliced potatoes into the mix and cook gently for one minute or so. 

4 Add the egg mixture and the wild garlic puree into the pan, turn up the heat a little and start to fold everything together, preferably with a rubber spatula.

5 Scatter the cheese evenly on top and put the pan into the oven for about 12 minutes until the frittata is golden and puffy. 

6 Allow the fritatta to rest for three to four minutes and then turn it out on to a plate and serve immediately.

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