Julia Macfarlane is a tweeting BBC World Service journalist. In a recent, prolonged, stay in the Middle East / North Africa – Morocco if I recall, she was tweeting about missing bacon and jaffa cakes. The former is clearly against the cultural and religious norms of the region, the latter, well, just makes them all the poorer – McVities should consider exports.
Anyway, I thereafter resolved to develop a recipe for a bacon/jaffa cake salad. Sound impossible? Well, here we go;
You shall require for two people;
- 4 rashers of smoked back bacon
- A brioche
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil (1 for the dressing, 2 for the croutons)
- 1 tbsp ground nut oil
- 2 tsp grated parmesan
- Pinch of mixed herbs
- Pinch of caster sugar
- Bag of salad leaves (up to you, but a rocket/watercress mix would be my choice)
- A square of really dark chocolate – 85% cocoa solids
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
So you can buy ready-made croutons, but they taste so artificially dry. A good crouton needs to be made from nearly stale bread as it is dry already, but still be fresh. I also always find a best salad needs slightly warm croutons for a temperature contrast and as they are so easy to make at home I haven’t bought a ready-made one for years.
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees centigrade
- Cut the brioche into cubes. Chuck them in a large bowl
- Drizzle over 2 tbsp of the olive oil, sprinkle over the parmesan, herbs, a pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper
- Toss the croutons well in the mix until everything is well coated and lay out in a single layer on a non stick baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy and golden and set aside – try to keep warm (cover with foil etc)
- Fry the bacon until crisp, remove the rind, and cut into little pieces. Add to a bowl with the salad leaves and croutons.
- In a clean jar, add the rest of the olive oil, the groundnut oil (you can use all olive if you want, I use half and half to limit the bitterness of the olive oil), the vinegar and orange juice, add a pinch of salt and pepper, then shake until emulsified. Use this to drizzle over the salad and serve (with some reserved on the side) with some of the chocolate finely grated over the top.
The general idea here is that the brioche represents the cake of the jaffa cake, the orange in the dressing with the sprinkling of chocolate complete it (it’s so bitter, it doesn’t taste as bad as you may think) – salt, bitter, sour and sweet all together.
Anyway, I shall leave it up to you to decide whether this recipe is a saint or a sinner – I’m just happy I developed something half respectful given my brief!