I was treated to a posh lunch today at the RAF (Royal Air Force) Club in Piccadilly by my friend Rona, who has membership there through her dad. We’d been first to a wonderful exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts called ‘Bronze’ with some stunningly exquisite pieces of bronze sculpture, from a few quite modern ones to many reaching back two or three thousand years in time. From there, it was only a short walk along Piccadilly to the Club where I had to sign into the Visitors’ Book (just after a ‘Sir’) and we made our way through elegant passageways and up sweeping staircases into the formal dining room. After a selection of smoked salmon, prawns and other things from the buffet to begin, followed by roast duck and then a dessert, I was, as you can imagine, quite full by the time we were ready to head home. I therefore wanted only a light supper this evening. I bought a lovely fresh sourdough loaf from La Boulangerie, a great French bakery near Richmond Bridge, on the way home.
Once home, I did a quick reconnaissance (gosh the RAF environment obviously put my mind into military alert to come up with that word in the flow of writing) of my fridge and discovered some bacon that needed using up (left over from my risotto earlier in the week), one tomato, some salad greens and eggs. ‘BLT’ I thought but then didn’t fancy a sandwich (even if it is perhaps my favourite sandwich) and decided on a salad instead. Then I thought I’d add a couple of soft-boiled eggs as the idea of runny egg yolks sliding across the slightly salty bacon seemed too good to resist.
I had a strange memory flash as I was carefully placing my one tomato ready for the photo and was taken back about thirty years to when I was editing lots of cookbooks and had to attend photo shoots for the book cover. I was driving down to deepest Sussex with the art director to shoot a photo for the cover of a book I’d commissioned about growing fruit and vegetables with recipes showing you what you could do with your harvest. I can’t remember what had happened to the home economist who usually did the cooking but remember I ended up having to make some tomato sorbet. You’ll see below the perfect tomatoes from the garden where we did the shoot and my probably far less perfect tomato sorbet! And hopefully also understand why this memory suddenly shot into my head!
Supper was the simplest thing. Good French butter spread thickly on the bread. I don’t eat a lot of butter but sometimes there really is nothing like it.
Two large organic eggs were boiled for 4 minutes then plunged into cold water. The griddle was heated ready for cooking the bacon; salad leaves laid in a bowl and the tomato sliced. The bacon was griddled and the shells of the eggs carefully removed (not an easy task when the eggs are only soft boiled and requires patience).
A French-style dressing was made with extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and some Dijon mustard. The tomato was placed on top of the salad leaves, then the bacon draped across. The eggs were placed on the top and sliced open. Then finally the dressing was spooned over.
Perfection! I just love the flavour of that classic combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato but with the oozing egg flowing over the top, a slice of wonderful bread to hand, it was a simply fabulous and quick supper. And just the thing after a large lunch!