I present a recipe for the ultimate Hampshire sandwich – the Hampwich. You need to go to a Hampshire Farmers’ Market to make one of these, but I suppose if you have sadly found yourself living in some other part of the world there may be ingredients almost as good near you.
Like many good things the Hampwich is a celebration of pleasure and excess, you don’t want to hold back with any of the ingredients as they are all so good.
The first ingredient you’ll need is some smoked brown trout (pictured left). The best place to get this is the New Forest Smokery (click to email them), their produce is smashing salamander quality. When you’re buying some of this also get some hot-smoked brown trout as I love that too (Editor Daniel is no fan of hot smoked fish but no one can be right all the time). The two 145g packets I’ve shown each contain four slices and so each packet is enough for two Hampwiches.
Next requirement is Alresford watercress. The Romans first acclaimed Alresford watercress to be the best in the world and it doesn’t seem like a couple of millennia of mankind farming it have ruined those properties of the area. The watercress has a powerful peppery bite and a crisp texture. I know it’s a green thing and so probably seriously unhealthy, but it is delicious and a necessary ingedient in the Hampwich. I’ve pictured two bundles of the size you normally get in the market and one will do for four Hampwiches.
You will also need muffins and King’s Somborne eggs to fry. Do you know how to fry eggs? I bet you don’t so I’ll tell you.
If you think of high-heat frying and whites that have crispy brown bits around the edges then you don’t deserve eggs as good as King’s Somborne’s. Doing that just makes the whites rubbery, those crispy bits don’t taste very nice anyway, and the bits of white and yolk that are not carbonised have very little flavour left. Instead, use a pan small enough to just hold the amount of eggs you are cooking. Put in a good slug of oil and put it over the lowest heat you can manage.
Cook the eggs until there is a touch of uncooked white left on the top of them and the yolks remain almost entirely liquid. Just as a rule of thumb, if you are not one of those insane people who like crispy bacon but rather like it to be able to bend and taste of bacon, it takes about the same time to fry eggs as it does to get bacon perfectly cooked (which, again, you don’t need an incinerating level of heat to achieve). Eggs cooked like this will not have the texture of tyres and there’ll be plenty of runny bits to soak into your muffins and watercress.
As the eggs are slowly cooking slice open your muffins and toast the inside of them. Butter the insides and layer on your smoked brown trout. This is how much brown trout you should be aiming for on a muffin:
Then put a fried egg on top, cover with chopped watercress and put the top of the muffin on. You now have a Hampwich ready to eat, ideally with some Meon Valley apple juice, but undoubtedly with an awfully large amount of pleasure.
As a potential improvement, I said to Dani after eating my lunch of two Hampwiches, “You know, next time possibly a tiny bit less trout but almost definitely some more watercress.” He fell off his chair and looked stunned; I can only imagine he was on the cider rather than apple juice.