Breakfast for Dinner

November 19, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Breakfast for Dinner 1
You need to have a good breakfast.
Sure. But it doesn’t always have to be in the morning.
When I was little, the best nights were ‘breakfast at dinner’. Sometimes it was french toast. Sometimes it was cereal. On special occasions it was lacy pancakes with lemon juice and the crunch of raw sugar. In winter it could be a toasted English muffin with bacon that had been cooked on a piece of paper towel in the microwave. (It was the 80s) . We would eat from bowls on our laps, watching Baywatch in front of a stern bar heater that burned our shins.
We washed dinner down with glasses of milk and a dash of glee from inverting the natural hierarchy of meals. Breakfast! For dinner!
As a real-live grown up, it’s hard to eat a bowl of cereal for tea without feeling like you should be watching Bridget Jones’ Diary in a snuggie and having a sook.

One way I’ve found to slink around that feeling is pasta carbonara.
Essentially, it’s bacon and eggs binding noodles instead of toast. It’s also standby in our house when the spouse (aka The Hungry One) comes home late. It’s comfort food. It’s made from stuff that’s usually in the pantry or the fridge. It also fills a hole for those who have been trapped in an air conditioned data centre until a no-man’s-land of time; way past dinner, yet still before the clock has struck a sensible breakfast hour.
But there’s only so many nights you can have a late night feast of beaten eggs, pasta-water and cheese over noodles with a mound of lardons without starting to feel a little like one.
So the other option that’s getting quite a bit of airplay at ours at the moment is a ‘breakfast-for-dinner salad’.
Here’s how we roll:
It’s two big handfuls of frisée and other fun lettuce per person (definition of ‘fun lettuce’: radicchio, mache, arugula. Preferably not iceberg or cos).
It’s a small handful of lardons that have been fried in the same pan as a big handful of halved cherry tomatoes. As the lardons brown the fat leaks out. The flavour then leaches into the tomatoes as they warm and wilt. Swirl the pan around a bit to help them get to know each other.
I also add a poached egg or two per person (depending on how hungry you are). The eggs will poach happily while the lardons and tomatoes cook.
From there it’s a handful of croutons (if you feel like eating carbs). It’s a tablespoon or so of crumbled cheese- I like goats cheese, but then that’s just the kind of girl I am. Parmesan would also be grand.
If there’s some zucchini rumbling around the fridge I’ll sometimes add ribbons of that made with a vegetable peeler for extra sweetness (not strictly breakfast, but a few extra green vegetables hiding in your meal never hurt anyone).
It’s a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a little glug of red wine vinegar and olive oil. The eggs go over the top of the leaves, the crumbled cheese, the tomatoes and the croutons. When punctured with a fork the googy yolks will help bind the dressing.
Sometimes I eat it in a big bowl on the couch, drinking a glass of milk. Other times it’s accompanied by a glass of pink wine.
My pyjamas no longer have covered in feet and the bar heater doesn’t burn. But if I found an old episode of Baywatch on TV…I probably wouldn’t complain.

Categories: Cooking Stories

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