Matt and I just got home from a weeklong family vacation in Kiawah, South Carolina (we'll have more on that next week), and though we're happy to be home, we're also fairly depressed that the trip is over and normal life is about to resume. At least we can drown our sorrows in hot bacon salad and bread pudding?
Lettuce and Hot Bacon Salad from Nigel Slater's Notes from the Larder
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
the juice of half a lemon
12 large basil leaves
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 handfuls of mixed salad leaves
8 slices of smoked bacon
To make the dressing, put the mustard, lemon juice, basil, and egg yolks in a blender and blend for a few seconds. Slowly add the oil until the dressing has the consistency of heavy cream. Season to taste.
Gently rinse the salad leaves in cold water, checking them carefully as you go, then drain them and dry in a salad spinner.
Broil or fry the bacon till crisp. Drain briefly on paper towels to remove any excess fat, then snip into short pieces.
Put the leaves in a salad bowl and add the bacon and dressing. Toss the ingredients gently together and eat immediately.
Spiced Bread and Butter Pudding with Fried Bananas adapted from Nigel Slater's Notes from the Larder
14-ounce can of coconut milk
1 2/3 cup milk
6 cardamom pods
scant 1/2 cup of sugar
a knife point (Oh, Nigel!) of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
12 small slices (about 8 oz.) of bread
a little demerara (or regular) sugar
for the bananas:
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons golden baker's sugar
a small orange
Pour the milks into a mixing bowl and whisk briefly. Crack the cardamom pods open and remove the black seeds, then crush them to a coarse powder with a heavy weight or grind them with a mortar and pestle. Add them to the milks with the sugar and cinnamon.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Stir the vanilla extract into the milk mixture, then beat in the eggs and yolks. Set aside.
Butter a dish about 9 inches in diameter. Butter the bread generously and remove the crusts. (Or don't. I liked the added texture of the crusts.) Cut each piece into triangles. Lay the slices of bread, slightly overlapping, in the buttered baking dish. Pour over the milk mixture. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the custard is just set. It should quiver when the dish is gently shaken. Remove and leave to cool a little.
Peel the bananas and slice them into thick rounds. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the bananas, and fry for a couple of minutes, till they start to soften and take on a little color. Add the sugar and continue cooking till it starts to caramelize and the bananas, given the occasional gentle stir, become golden and sticky. Finely grate the set of the orange on top. Serve with the pudding.