If there's one thing I learned to love more than anything in England, it's the breakfast sarnie. I use the general term, breakfast, because there are many different combinations a breakfast sandwich can consist of. After a Saturday night at the pub, Sunday mornings call for either a sausage or bacon sarnie. Egg is a great addition if you're feeling extremely hungover.
When it comes to sausages, England rules. If you're thinking of a time where you visited and ate one of those disgusting, mealy sausages served at bed and breakfasts throughout the UK as part of a full English breakfast, then think again. My local butcher, Frank Godfrey, in Highbury, had the most delicious house-made pork sausages with a little Director's bitter added in the mix.
I spent a cold Christmas Eve morning at Godfrey's, in a queue that ran around the corner, waiting for my gorgeous free range turkey. A little girl in a butcher's apron came out with a tray of coffee, mince pies and sausages on toothpicks to cement one of my favorite Christmas memories.
Here in Chicago, I go to Paulina meat market, which is a German market and smokehouse. The place is always packed, the men behind the counter are friendly and willing to order anything for you, and their array of sausages is fantastic.
Bacon is a different story. I have a serious weakness for Canadian bacon, also known as streaky bacon in the UK. One of my Mom's favorite breakfasts was to make a pile of crispy bacon and then crush them between toasted rye bread. The traditional English bacon is back bacon- thicker with a thin rind of fat running down one side.
To top it off, there is the sauce debate. I personally cannot live without HP sauce; a thick, tangy brown sauce that goes perfect with sausage or bacon. My husband is more of a "Tommy K" man (tomato ketchup). I like to add a dollop of hot Colman's mustard to the side of my plate to dip the sandwich in as I eat... only a little is needed.
Let's be honest, this isn't much of a recipe, but if done right, it's one of the best breakfasts you'll ever have. You might want to spend some time thinking of the ideal bread to use. Warburtons white bread is ideal, if you're in Northern England, but I like multigrain.
We've started grilling both the sausages or bacon and the bread on the grill. I also like to use chicken sausages as a change- ones with chillies spiked through the middle with herbs.
4 sausages of your choice
4 slices of multigrain bread
HP sauce or Tomato ketchup
Heat a grill pan or the barbecue grill to medium high. Cook your sausages until the juices run clear. Chicken sausages are normally already cooked through, so they'll not take as long as pork sausages.
Take your slices of multigrain bread and pop them on the grill- about a minute on each side, checking to make sure they're not burning, but that there are some nice grill marks across the toast.
Slices your sausages on the diagonal (at this point, my dog, Indy, is staring up at me with a longing look).
Slather the toast with some butter (real butter please) and lay your sausages across one side of the toast. Top with your choice of sauce and squish the top layer of toast down. Cut in half and enjoy.