Drunken Speculation

Breakfast Beer Week – Breaky Trio with Bread and Smoked Ale

smokebeer and baconThis is one for the bacon lovers, and trust me, it’s bacon overload. I wanted to match something with a smoked beer and I still hadn’t done a breakfast with bacon. Alas, together, they’d just be too overpowering. I’ve thrown in the other elements so the bacon isn’t the hero, in fact, all of the components of this dish are sides, but one of them in particular stands up to the beer I’ve chosen.

It’s hard to look past Bamburg for a smoked beer and we’ve chosen Brauerei Heller’s Maerzen. Brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law and with it’s malted barley kilned over a fire of beechwood logs, the beer reeks of smokiness with ham-my undertones that convert to the palate along with mellow hop bitterness.

Breakfast Trio with Toasted Ciabatta | Serves 2

What you need:

  • 8 rashers bacon
  • 2 ciabatta bread rolls
  • Butter

For the frittata:

  • 2 teaspoons butter, plus extra for greasing
  • ½ cup grated zucchini
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup finely chopped leek, white part only
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup grated cheese (I used Colby)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parlsey
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the mushrooms:

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 500g button mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

What to do:

For the frittata:

1.       Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a square 18.5cm square cake pan.

2.       Melt the two teaspoons of butter in a saucepan. Add zucchini, carrot and leek and cook until softened. Transfer to a large bowl and cool slightly.

3.       Stir in remaining ingredients and season.

4.       Pour into prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove from oven, cool slightly and cut into slices.

For the mushrooms:

1.       Melt butter in saucepan that was used to cook the zucchini, carrot and leek above. Add garlic and cook stirring for one minute before adding the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened and brown in colour.

2.       Add the parsley towards the end of cooking. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For the bacon and bread:

1.       Heat a frying pan and fry bacon until crisp.

2.       Slice ciabatta rolls into three or four slices lengthways and butter. Warm in the oven while you’re cooling the frittata.

Serve all elements together on a plate or lay out on the table and enjoy banquet style.

20140201_085404The Match-Up

Warning: The bacon and the smoked beer amount to one hell of a bacon overdose. Although, that said, if your bacon is as strong-flavoured as mine was, it has the effect of making the beer taste more like a porter as the smokiness in each competes for a winner. On the other hand the frittata and the bread, washed down with the beer, make for a bacon-filled (and not much else) experience. It’s really the mushrooms in this dish that stand up to the might of this Maerzen’s smokiness. Their herb and garlic marinade penetrate the smoke and hamminess of the beer while the earthy mushrooms themselves harmonize with it.

Lessons learnt: Sometimes complimentary flavours can become a little too much. (I’d probably omit the bacon next time.) And, the more elements you have on a plate, the more difficult it becomes to pair them all with a single beer.

Other Recommendations:

Author’s note: In the interests of full disclosure (and not appearing like raging alcoholics), Breakfast Beer Week at drunkspec was not undertaken in one week but spread over a number of weekends and holidays.

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