Monday, 3 January 2011
Beyond Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson
I bought a toaster yesterday. Up until a couple of years ago, my toast was made on an Aga and since moving back to London, I've always used the grill or my Breville panini maker, which is always a bit of a faff when all you want is hot buttered toast in a hurry.
I'm not sure why the toasterless situation suddenly became untenable. It could have been because I watched Toast last week. More likely, it's because I found one reduced to half price in Sainsbury's. A Breville - not the best of toasters, but, according to Which?, not the worst, either.
Anyway, today I found myself in possession of a toaster, some white sourdough, the last remaining slices of rib of beef and best of all, a huge beakerful of beef dripping - all that is required for Mr Henderson's Cold Roast Beef on Dripping Toast. I love dripping - used to covet my granny's stash when I was a child. She kept it in a china cup in the fridge. Her roast beef was dreadful - a small joint would go into the oven before church and wouldn't come out until every last drop of moisture had been extracted from it. She'd then shave it into transparent slices (you could tell she'd had eight children to feed) and douse it in Bisto gravy (also made in a china cup). None of the roasting dish juices went into the gravy - they were all reserved for the dripping pot, the saving grace of her roast. Bread was buttered, then spread with dripping whilst still on the loaf, then shaved as thinly as the beef and sprinkled with salt. If we were lucky, we'd get a scant taste of the beef jelly too.
Back to Mr Henderson; he suggests spreading beef dripping on buttered toast and then warming it under the grill for a minute or two to make sure it has melted - an excellent tip as cold dripping is claggy and will coat the mouth unpleasantly. He sprinkles with sea salt and then adds roast beef. Simplicity itself. I will, however, swap his favoured pickled walnuts for horseradish.