3-4 rashers middle bacon
3-4 spring onions
1 medium brown onion
1 clove garlic
1 large carrot
1 tbsp tomato sauce
2 dozen cherry tomatoes
200g cheddar cheese
around half a loaf of bread (see notes)
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp herb such as sage or marjoram
Chop the spring onion into 5mm slices, cut the bacon into similar squares, finely knife-chop the garlic, sweat all three in half the butter in a frypan over low heat, for around 7 minutes. Meanwhile slice your bread (see notes) into 1cm slices and toast to dark brown. Line a ceramic or glass baking dish with these toast slices. Trim if necessary to get even coverage of the bottom and up the sides.
Once the bacon and onion have softened, spoon the mixture over the bread, ensuring you get a thin even layer over the bread. Allow the butter to transfer with all the other pan juices and soak the bread. Slice the carrot and the brown onion into 3mm-5mm slices, fry over medium heat with the remaining butter. When the ingredients show slight colour, stir in the tomato sauce and half the herbs, allow to finish cooking in the heat of the pan while you roughly quarter the cherry tomatoes and layer these over the bacon mixture in the baking dish. Spoon the carrot and onion mixture over in an even layer.
Break the eggs into a bowl, and while whisking, sift in the cornflour. When mixed, add the milk, the remaining herbs, and the salt, whisking all the while. Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the dish. Cut the cheese into small cubes also around 5mm, sprinkle over the egg mixture. By now the egg mixture should have almost soaked away anyway. Place low down in oven at 190C (380F) for about 20 minutes, uncovered, then increase the heat to 210C (410F) for 10 more minutes.
There's a knack to finding the right point to remove it. The butter soaks through the bread and along with the juices and tomato liquid, forms a caramelised crust of the outer layer of the toasted bread. That's why it has to be toasted dark brown, to start the reaction. The cheese should melt down around the edges and be starting to brown on top.
This will serve four people with a green leafy salad on the side. Serve it up hot from the oven, making sure everyone gets a share of the caramelised crust and edges. They're da bomb!
The bread can be white sliced but a firmer textured bread is better. You can use French or Italian style breads.
I find that using a glass casserole or baking dish allows me to see the state of caramelisation of the bread, and it's important that the bread and cheese almost start to burn. Your nose will tell you when that point is reached, but then you have to be sprightly to get it out right there and then or things will progress to black and overly hard in only a few minutes.
As Matt Preston would say, the caramelised crust is the hero of this dish, and the herbs and bacon form the nice surprise flavour. It's just a basic egg frittata that I've added the idea of a soaked bread crust to, and to my surprise it performs really well.