The English Breakfast

OK, Williams-Sonoma came out with a “recipe” for an English Breakfast in one of their catalogues last year, which is now on their website:

This hearty breakfast is the vestige of the traditional morning meals that were served in grand English country houses during the Edwardian era. Here, the main course fry-up features bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes paired with buttered toast. Accompany with a pot of freshly brewed tea.


  • 8 oz. small button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 15 to 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 slices sweet batard, cut diagonally, each about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick
  • Unsalted butter as needed
  • 8 eggs
  • 12 bacon slices, cooked, drained and kept warm
  • 12 pork breakfast sausage links, cooked, drained and kept warm
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, stir together the mushrooms, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms in a single layer on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Set the cherry tomatoes, stem end up, on the opposite side of the sheet. Lightly drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes just start to burst, about 20 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate. Continue roasting the mushrooms until golden and tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to the plate.

Lightly toast the bread and spread with butter. Warm a griddle over medium heat and generously brush with olive oil. Working in batches, break the eggs onto the griddle and fry until the whites are set and the edges of the yolks just begin to set, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place 1 slice toast on each of 4 plates and top each with 2 fried eggs. Place the bacon and sausage on the plates. Stir together the mushrooms and tomatoes and spoon on top of the eggs. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.

It’s pretty good, but I’ve made my own tweaks to it.

First off, I hate tomatoes, but would cook them if someone really, really, really insisted on them.

Next, Substitute a mix of forest mushrooms for those boring old button jobbies: By forest mushrooms I mean chanterelles, porcini, maitake, black trumpet mushrooms, oysters mushrooms, etcetera. Have fun and come up with a mix to your own taste! Somewhat of a Gallic twist to this grande petite dejuner!

Also, make it heart smart by substituting turkey for pork. I can come up with some really nice turkey sage sausages (can’t call them Cumberland though!). The pork can be saved for very special occassions. Amusingly, Williams-Sonoma sells English style bacon (of course, this recipe is to boost sales of that stuff!).

Add coffee and orange juice.

Any really nice bread from a bakery will also go well with this.

Parsley? Forget it!

Irish oatmeal is also a pretty good addition to this as well. Get the McCann’s steel cut stuff in the tin and cook it in a mini-crock pot for about 4 hours (overnight). The proper mix is 1/3 cup to 2 cups water.

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