Ulster Fry: is this the national dish of Northern Ireland? In some people’s minds it is, at least traditionally, though others are trying to move Northern Irish food associations from this dish sometimes called a “heart attack on a plate.”
It’s a large breakfast, almost all of which is fried, that can be served any time of day. The quantity of fried food is daunting, though the overall quantity wouldn’t impress anyone who’s had a Denny’s breakfast.
It consists of back bacon, egg, sausages (usually 2) and half a tomato, all fried. Even a form of potato bread called a “farl” is split in half, and fried, along with a fried piece of soda bread.
The meal may also include fried black or white pudding, fried mushrooms, fried kidney or liver, fried beef steak, or pancakes, and sometimes baked beans.
The traditional frying medium was lard, though some are turning to vegetable oil as a “nod” to lighter eating.
You need to cook the items in order of which takes the longest to cook, starting with that, and need to find a way to find items warm as they come out of the pan — covering them usually works.
Generally, the eggs are what you will fry up last. Just before the egg goes in, you fry the potato farl and the soda bread.
Potato bread and soda farls are considered mandatory. The eggs are often put on top of the soda bread on the plate.
Some people prefer to grill (aka “broil” in North America) some of the items, but purists say that it’s no longer an Ulster Fry.
It is served with strong tea and brown sauce.
Crisps (aka potato chips in North America) are made by the Tayto company that are supposed to capture the taste of an Ulster Fry. Each crisp seems to have all the flavourings mixed up on every one of them.