When I noticed that bacon chops were on special offer my greedy, although certainly not grubby, hands couldn’t grab a pack quick enough. Especially as I’ve never tried them. What’s the difference? Very little. If you think of a pack of eight slices then this pack is only two. Would I bother to buy them again? No. Too much meat on my plate. Besides, for a warm salad with quite a few ingredients streaky bacon pan-fried until nicely crisp and broken into either bits or crumbs would be fine, if not better. Nice to try something new for a change. Even though I have several salad recipes on here with both bulgur wheat and couscous it had never crossed my mind to use pearl barley, until I read Darya’s delicious post, Salade de persil, orge et féta marinée. Don’t be put off by the French title as Darya writes impeccably in English, too. Here, I’m going with stuff to hand rather than a recipe. Oddly, it’s only during autumn and winter that I start to crave marrowfat peas, and pearl barley, as that’s what I grew up with – large bowls of Scotch Broth. Okay, for the pedants out there, I’m aware that if Scotch Broth is made with mutton it’s technically called Hotch Potch.
Anyway, yesterday I found three new products, including the little balls of mozzarella called bocconcini. Fun to have for the photos. I probably wouldn’t buy them unless I was making a salad for others. Good to know that it’s available as I only noticed it in the reduced section because of its sell-by date. That was grabbed, along with the most amazing vintage Cheddar that was also on its sell-by date, too. Wow! Some days I’m lucky. Seriously, the quality is incredible. It just says Sweet and creamy vintage Cheddar and is M’s own brand. Certainly won’t be buying more expensive brands from their deli counter any more. And looking forward to trying the Cheddar melted on dry toast for sups tonight to test it for the possibility of using within a gratin – yes, it’s that cold again. The other new product is a can or tin of Sardinella in tomato sauce. I’d never heard of them before. I’ve just Googled and the Sardinella longiceps and gibbosa are both caught in the Pacific, and are young pilchards. Huh, enough learning for one day. For anyone interested in a fascinating article to do with seafood then I would definitely recommend this article written by lasesana, Widespread seafood fraud in the U.S..
Bacon Chops and a Warm Salad, with marrowfat peas, pearl barley, dried fruit, nuts and seeds
- olive oil
- 50g (1.76 oz) x dried pearl barley, rinse the barley well before soaking overnight in plently of cold water as it’s much quicker to cook
- 100g (3.52 oz) x dried marrowfat peas, pick through the peas and if any of them have holes in them discard those, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
- 2 x unsmoked bacon chops 225g (7.93 oz), cooked to pack’s instructions
- 1 x Little Gem (romaine type) lettuce, washed, dried and shredded
- 1 x 125g (4.40 oz) tub mozzarella bocconcini, rinsed
- 4 x dried apricots, small dice
- 4 x dried prunes, small dice
- handful x flaked or slivered almonds, dry toasted if wanted
- handful x pumpkin seeds
- 8 or more x pitted black olives, sliced
- dried marjoram, to personal taste
- extra virgin olive oil
- aged balsamic vinegar OR 1/2 x lemon, rolled under palms before slicing in half and freshly squeezed through a fine sieve to collect pips
- freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
- fresh parsley, finely chopped or snipped, to serve
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- After rinsing the marrowfat peas add them to a large heavy-based saucepan with plenty of cold water and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) and bring to a brisk boil for four or five minutes. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until cooked. This will take about 30 or so minutes simmering to get them soft enough. When cooked drain and set aside.
- With the barley do rinse it well before adding to a large saucepan with lid and plenty of cold water. Put on heat No 4, bring to a boil, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for about 15 minutes. Do check after this time as they might need to simmer for longer to get them soft enough. When cooked drain them and set aside.
- Pan-fry or grill/broil the bacon chops to the pack’s instructions. On mine it states about 10 minutes cooking time. Mine took a lot longer to get them nicely golden on both sides.
- In the pan/skillet used for the chops add the peas and barley and reheat just before serving.
- In the meantime prep the ingredients for the salad and arrange on plates. Make up a vinaigrette of choice and set aside with the dried marjoram to be sprinkled on top.
- When peas and barley are reheated add to a separate bowl and serve with the chops, lots of salad with dried marjoram and what ever dried fruit, nuts and seeds are available.
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