Isn't odd how certain things that have never before been on your radar suddenly push their way into your consciousness thanks to their repetitive appearances in the most random places? Take, for example, canned corned beef. Strange that I came across mentions of this tinned meat product twice last week. The first time was reading E.F. Benson's Miss Mapp (which, by the way, you should read, if you haven't already); in one particularly humorous scene, Miss Mapp, the title character, is discovered to be hoarding food in anticipation of a coal strike. What gave her away? A can of corned beef, which became dislodged from a shelf of a hidden closet, only to come crashing to the floor when one of Miss Mapp's guests accidentally opens the secret door. OK, so maybe you need to have read the book to find this funny.
My second run-in with canned corned beef came a few days later, when my copy of Annabel's was delivered. The book, now out-of-print, chronicles the history and the legend of this much-loved London nightclub, which, sadly, I have never had the opportunity to visit. I was prompted to hunt down a copy of the book upon learning of Annabel's impending move to a new location close-by. Anyway, while flipping through the book, I found Mark Birley's recipe for Corned Beef Hash, which is to be sumptuously served with a poached egg on top. You'll find the recipe below.
I've eaten neither canned corned beef nor corned beef hash before, so their tastiness (or lack thereof) is a mystery to me. Perhaps I'll take a stab at the recipe someday soon. And to make up for this hash of a post, I'm also including photos of Annabel's interiors, taken from the book. In surroundings such as these, how could food- even canned corned beef- taste anything but delicious?
Mark Birley's Corned Beef Hash
1 medium baking potato, about 200g
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying
340g can corned beef
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp English mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Steam the potato for about 20 minutes until just tender. When cool, peel and cut into 5mm dice. Tip into a big bowl.
Saute the onion gently in 1 tbsp. oil for about 5 minutes until softened. Add this to the diced potato.
Cut the corned beef into 5mm dice. Mix into the potatoes with the parsley, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and seasoning to taste.
Heat a thin film of oil in a large frying pan. Cook the hash for 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and crispy in parts. Serve immediately. Serves 2.