Last year, before I went on my trip to London, an English friend told me to be sure to have a "Ploughman's Lunch." What? Never heard of it. Had you? Here's what wikipedia had to say about it: "A ploughman's lunch (often just called a ploughman's) is a cold snack or meal originating in the United Kingdom, comprising at a minimum cheese, pickle, bread, and butter. It is often accompanied by a green salad..." It sounded reasonably good at the time, but I couldn't squeeze it in-literally and figuratively-between all the other lovely foods I devoured in London. Right before I got on the plane home, I stopped at a take-and-go food shop, called Pret a Manger, where I grabbed an assembled Ploughman's Sandwich. It was a brown bread sandwich with cheese, chutney, and dressed greens. Not bad, but not as fantastic as I had hoped. I really still didn't have an idea what a real Plougman's Lunch consisted of-that is until I opened March's Cooking Light Magazine and saw this glorious sight.
Irish Ploughman's Lunch from Cooking Light Magazine
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups salad, 1 1/2 ounces sausage, 3/4 ounce cheese, 1/2 bread slice, about 2 cornichons, and about 2 tablespoons chutney)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 (3-ounce) links chicken apple sausage, cooked and sliced diagonally
4 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese (such as Kerrygold), sliced
3 slices Brown Soda Bread, each cut into quarters
2 ounces cornichons
3/4 cup Tomato Chutney
1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well. Slowly drizzle oil into vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add lettuce; toss to coat. Arrange salad on a platter with sausage, cheese, Brown Soda Bread, and cornichons. Place Tomato Chutney in a bowl; add to platter.
Whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and steel-cut oats (also called Irish oatmeal) make this a super-healthy interpretation of the classic Irish bread.
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
11.25 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup steel-cut oats (such as McCann's)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Coat a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt). Combine buttermilk and egg; add to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert bread onto a wire rack; cool completely. Remove parchment; slice bread into 12 slices.
Tomato Chutney from Cooking Light
Yield: 2 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
7 plum tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1. Place first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; bring to a boil. Add onion and remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until thick, stirring occasionally.