The singular atmosphere of Regency Café, my favorite breakfast spot in London,
is impossible to re-create at home, but this recipe at least conjures their special version of a full English breakfast, in which deeply flavored, almost candy-like mushrooms are the star. The beans are a convincing facsimile of the canned version, and while they’re far less processed than those out of the Heinz tin, there does have to be store-bought ketchup or it just won’t taste right.
4 strips bacon
½ pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and halved
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 (15½-ounce) can small white beans
Scant ¼ cup ketchup
½ teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon water
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
4 (or 8) eggs
4 (or 8) slices white or whole-wheat bread
In a small pot, combine the beans, ketchup, fish sauce, parsley and water and cook over a low heat, mixing well, about 5 minutes, until warmed through. Season generously with fresh-ground black pepper and a little salt. Keep on lowest heat until ready to serve.
In a medium pan, cook bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 3 minutes, until well-done and crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Set aside. Transfer half of the grease to a jar or dispose.
Heat the remaining grease gently over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season generously with salt and cook 3–5 minutes, until they start to break down. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, thyme and black pepper. Add mixture to the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, turn heat to low and keep on simmer until ready to serve.
LUKE PYENSON is a food and travel writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer based in New York City. You can see examples of his work at www.lukepyenson.com.