How often do you have an empty fridge, or an almost empty one? Apart from when you move house that is? I used to be really happy when mine was bursting with food but that has changed: perhaps because I’m more aware of how little is needed to make a meal, perhaps because I know that some of that fridge-full will be wasted or perhaps because I find too much stuff overwhelming, I now like my fridge to be leanly stocked. And this week I’m pushing myself to see how lean it can be. I grilled some defrosted lamb to eat with the mojo yesterday and today I made these ‘sausages’, which are a perfect way to use up breadcrumbs, past their best hard cheeses like Cheddar and the odd onion or two.
A bit like cheese rissoles, or a sort of cheese and onion hash, these are fast and tasty, lovely with some chutney or chilli jam and only need a green vegetable or salad to make them complete. Don’t worry if yours collapse in the frying pan by the way (mine did); they’ll still taste great and, as with a corned beef hash, a fried egg on top will cover most ills. Depending on whether you use fresh or stale breadcrumbs, you may need a little more beaten egg to make the mixture cohere (the drier they are the more likely it is that they won’t hold together). Otherwise feel free to adapt: for example I used five small spring onions, but other recipes use leeks and I used fresh thyme whereas others have parsley. This is definitely not a dish that requires too much anxiety over the details; if ever there was a recipe that defined throwing everything together and cooking it this is it.
For 3-4 portions you will need:
Cupboard (or things you might already have)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of each
a little oil or butter for frying
small spring onions, 5 (or one normal-sized onion or leek)
mature Cheddar, 150g
fresh thyme, a couple of sprigs
mustard powder, ½ teaspoon
1. Crack the egg into a large bowl and beat lightly to mix.
2. Peel, top and tail and finely chop the onions, grate the cheese and take the thyme leaves off their stalks. Add the cheese, thyme leaves and chopped onions to the egg with the breadcrumbs, mustard powder and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Mix together well, adding another half a beaten egg if the mixture doesn’t hold together, then shape into small balls (you should get about 10-12), cover with cling film and chill for half an hour so that they firm up.
4. Finally, put a large frying pan over a medium heat, add a knob of butter or dash of olive oil and, once hot, add the ‘sausages’ and cook until golden brown all over. Serve immediately.