Northern Ireland

Dish

The Ulster Fry is available all over the North both for breakfast and (in cafes and casual restaurants) as a lunch and dinner dish. It's as close as this island comes to the "all-day breakfast" concept. The Fry is meant to be hearty and substantial, and any attempt to render it in low-calorie form is destined to fail, as the ingredients (except for the potato farl and soda farl) are already too high-cholesterol for grilling them to make much of a difference if you're going to be eating them all at once. The key to keeping an Ulster Fry from doing long-term harm to your cardiac health or your waistline is simply not to eat it every day, or maybe even every week. But if you're going to make it, make it the old-fashioned way.

Ingredients

  • Streaky Irish bacon / bacon rashers
  • Sausages
  • Black pudding Eggs
  • Potato farl (a potato-based griddle bread, rolled out into a circle and cut into quarters, then baked)
  • Soda farl (soda bread baked on the griddle, also in quarters: "farl" is an old word for quarter)
  • Other ingredients that sometimes get involved, either as a garnish or as elements of other regional breakfasts that have slithered into the equation from the outside, are white pudding (a sausage like black pudding but without the blood), tomatoes, mushrooms, and fried bread, the key is that everything must be cooked in the bacon fat. No baked beans in sight!
  • Making a successful Fry is something of an exercise in logistics, as the various ingredients need different cooking times. You'll need to work out first how many guests you're having. For each fry-eater, you'll need:
  • At least one egg: two if your guest is a two-egg person
  • Two slices of bacon (more if desired)
  • One slice black pudding: one slice white pudding, if you're making that too
  • One farl of potato farl
  • One farl of soda farl (Note: you could probably make this using sliced cake-style soda bread, but it won't work as well. Also: the Fry uses white farl, not wheaten bread.)
  • Halved tomatoes if you're bothering with tomatoes (some people don't)
Ulster Fry

Method

  1. Once you've sourced your ingredients and have everything ready to go, you start out by frying the bacon in a heavy frying pan (cast iron is best), as you need its fat to fry everything else in. (A local cook with access to lard will refresh the pan with that, if necessary.
  2. However, no one would look down their nose at good Irish butter in this context if the bacon fat runs low. But some Northern cooks would simply say, "You didn't fry enough bacon.!")
  3. First, preheat your oven to a low "holding" temperature -- say 100F / 50C -- and prepare a covered platter to keep the various ingredients hot on while you're working with the ones that come after them.
  4. Having fried up the bacon, remove it from the pan to the covered dish and keep warm. Then fry the sausages in the bacon fat. (Prick them first so they won't burst while frying.)
  5. When they're done and removed to the warm covered platter, fry the slices of black pudding (and if you're adding it, the white pudding.)
  6. Once the pudding slices are done, remove them to the warming platter and fry the potato bread and soda bread. Then, when those are finished, put them in the warming platter with everything else, and fry the egg or eggs and tomato halves.
  7. Place the eggs on warmed plates and arrange the meats and fried breads around them. Serve with a sharp brown sauce ,salt and pepper, and hot strong tea.