Simply food

A BETTER BATTER DISH

If the Brits can put bangers in Yorkshire pudding and call it toad-in-the-hole what shall I call green veggies in Yorkshire pudding? Frog-in-the-hole?

A new recipe: veggies-in-the-hole

Today, I’m in an experimental mood. I was going to make a big frittata for lunch, but there weren’t enough eggs in the fridge, so I went on the hunt for something similar/better/different, and this is what I came up with: veggies-in-the-hole.

Just so we are clear on the roots of this invention, let’s start with the basics.

Frittata is simply Italy’s answer to an omelette. The only difference is that instead of flipping it over, the top is cooked in the oven. I like my recipe for mini frittatas better.

Toad-in-the-hole is England’s curiously named dish, whereby bangers (English breakfast sausages) are cooked in a Yorkshire pudding batter. No toads are harmed in the process. I thought I might call my version with green veggies frog-in-the-hole, but that idea was quickly nixed by my beloved.

Yorkshire pudding is the traditional accompaniment to the Sunday roast beef, but can also be served with any roast. In its native home of Yorkshire, the pudding often precedes the main course, simply served with a thick brown gravy. I’ve also had it as a dessert, with an unhealthy but delicious pour of golden syrup. Maple syrup would substitute well in Canada.

You can check the links to the original stories, but for your convenience I’ve also listed the recipes below.

In addition to the shortage of eggs — largely due to the fact that I’d made eggs benny for lunch the day before, and had yet to go shopping — I also had plenty of left-over veggies: salty Canary Islands potatoes, asparagus, broccoli and loads of parsley. I have the staples to make a batter, so rather than setting the veggies in an eggy mix, I thought I would see what happened if I made them in a Yorkshire pudding. And don’t worry if you don’t have the exact mix of veggies to hand: any left-overs will do fine. The results were delicious.

VEGGIES-IN-THE-HOLE

Shopping list

  • 3/4 cup / 6 oz / 150 g plain white flour
  • 3 large free-range eggs at room temperature (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 1 TBSP lard or cooking oil
  • 1 cup / 200 g left-over (ie pre-cooked) veggies at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Preparation and cooking

  1. Starting with all the ingredients at room temperature, break eggs into a bowl and whisk well.
  2. Add the milk and beat into a smooth mix.
  3. Slowly add exactly the same amount of white all-purpose flour and beat into a smooth batter with no lumps.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt and set aside, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 30 mins.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450°F / 230°C.
  6. Heat a six-section muffin tin, with a small dab of lard or a dribble of cooking oil in each section, until it is smoking hot.
  7. Portion out the room temperature veggies evenly. TIP: pat the cooked veggies dry with a paper towel to keep the moisture content down.
  8. Ladle the batter into the muffin tin, quickly add the veggies, and cook in the hot oven for 25 to 30 mins or until the puddings have fully risen and are golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately.

MINI FRITTATAS

Shopping list

  • 6-8 eggs
  • 100 g Greek yoghurt
  • 100 g goat feta
  • ¼ finely grated Parmesan
  • 1-2 spring onions
  • 1 cup cooked vegetables (optional)
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

Garnish

  • Parsley

Preparation and cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F.
  2. Mix eggs and Greek yoghurt together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Chop the onions finely and add to the bowl, along with the crumbled goat feta and grated Parmesan.
  4. Butter a muffin tin with six compartments. OPTION: Chop up and add any left-over green vegetables, such as peas, green beans, spinach, broccolini, broccoli heads, apportioning them evenly in the cups.
  5. Pour the egg and cheese mixture into them, dividing equally. If you have added cooked veggies, shake the pan gently to ensure the eggs gets to the bottom of each cup.
  6. Bake for 20 mins until the eggs are cooked through.
  7. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve immediately. 

TOAD-IN-THE-HOLE

Shopping list

  • 3/4 cup / 6 oz / 150 g plain white flour
  • 3 large free-range eggs at room temperature (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 1 TBSP lard (OPTION: cooking oil)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb / approx 500 g cooked English breakfast sausages (bangers), a packet of 5 or 6, cut in halves

Preparation and cooking

  1. Starting with all the ingredients at room temperature, break eggs into a bowl and whisk well.
  2. Add milk and beat into a smooth mix.
  3. Slowly add exactly the same amount of white all-purpose flour and beat into a smooth batter with no lumps.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt and set aside, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 30 mins.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450°F / 230°C.
  6. In a heavy roasting pan about 9 in by 9 in by 2 in deep, add the fat and heat until it is smoking hot.
  7. First prick with a fork, then cook the bangers in the hot fat until browned all round, although they don’t need to be cooked all the way through. OR when the fat is almost smoking, add the bangers if they are pre-cooked.
  8. Whisk the rested batter and pour it into the pan over and around the bangers. Make sure they are lined up neatly for better cooking and serving. To keep the oil very hot while you do this, put the pan over a burner on the stove. For good Yorkshire pudding, it is critical to have the fat VERY hot.
  9. Return the pan to the oven and cook for a further 30 to 35 mins, or until the batter has risen and is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cut into wedges around each banger, allowing one or two per person.
  10. Serve with lashings of onion gravy and a veggie of your choice.

YORKSHIRE PUDDING

Shopping list

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • lard OR cooking oil

Preparation and cooking

  1. Starting with all ingredients at room temperature, break three eggs into a bowl and whisk well.
  2. Add milk and beat into a smooth mix.
  3. Slowly add exactly the same amount of white all-purpose flour, and beat until it is a smooth batter with no lumps.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt and set aside to rest at room temperature for at least 30 mins, covered with plastic wrap.
  5. Heat the oven to 450°F/230°C.
  6. Heat a six-section muffin tin, with a small dab of lard or a dribble of cooking oil in each section, until it is smoking hot.
  7. Ladle the batter into the muffin tin and cook in the hot oven for 25 to 30 mins or until the puddings have fully risen and are golden brown.
  8. Serve immediately.
Featured image: puffed up veggies-in-the-hole

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This is Nigel’s 341st blog on Gentleman’s Portion. The SEARCH function at the top works really well if you want to look back and see some of his previous stories or check under CATEGORIES.

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