your favorite components and build: smoked salmon and
egg on English muffin, from left, bacon and egg on
croissant, avocado, tomato and egg on sauteed
portobello mushroom caps (for a paleo approach) and
sausage and egg on a biscuit.
finally, just what youíve all been waiting for: a
philosophical treatise on breakfast sandwiches. Hoo, boy.
YOU NEED TO LEARN THIS
things in life are as satisfyingly American as a weekend
plate of bacon and eggs. Letís shun the quotidian, though,
and turn that Sunday morning staple into something
stupendous, something colossal, something you can hold in
your hand while motoring to the bowling alley. Ladies and
gentlemen, I give you the breakfast sandwich.
STEPS YOU TAKE
usual, before we talk, letís talk:
this may seem obvious, but, a sandwich is not a beef stew.
Nor is it a spicy Thai soup or a succulent goat curry. (The
wiseacres among you will make the case that itís not a
puppy or a swing set, either, but, letís rein in those
darker impulses, shall we?)
with me, though: What sets the sandwich apart is the fact
that the ingredients in those other dishes are cooked
together, consequently losing their individuality as they
become subsumed into the whole. Like the Borg, for you Star
Trek fans out there.
sandwich, however, all the ingredients are stacked atop each
other like the bony occupants of the Paris catacombs. They
donít interact at all until theyíre removed by the force
of your gnashing teeth from the sandwich proper to be
mingled and mangled in the damp recesses of your mouth.
such, what youíre getting is not the unified flavor
melange of your soups and stews and curries; itís
individual flavors tasted side by side.
that thought with this: In a given dish, the more
ingredients, the less the importance of any one. Breakfast
sammies have relatively few ingredients, which is why, for a
truly excellent experience, every ingredient has to be as
close to perfect as possible. Otherwise, your sandwich
suffers the fate of the chain with one weak link.
take a look, then, at the basic components of the breakfast
The bread is what allows you to eat with your hands while
remaining relatively unsullied. English muffin is my
personal fave, but any good quality bread will work. Or
think exotic: Indian flatbreads, tortillas, biscuits or
cornbread. Even French toast or waffles, for that matter.
Regardless, bread should be toasted and hot.
One per sandwich fits nicely. The biggest decision is how to
cook it. An omelet or scramble is easiest to position on a
sandwich. An over-hard (with a broken, solid yolk) also
works, though you may have to do some folding to get it to
fit. Over easy eggs are marvelous because the warm, liquid
yolk makes a golden sauce of nearly otherworldly
deliciousness, like something from your travels to Plutron
IV in the Nebulor Galaxy. Beware: If you place a whole
over-easy egg on a sandwich, your first bite just may splat
the ruptured yolk down the front of your freshly laundered
jammies. Thus, I suggest puncturing the yolk after cooking,
so that when the sandwich is assembled, the yolk spreads
slowly and evenly rather than explosively and comically.
Make sure any carnivorous treats are properly cooked and
hot. Crisp bacon is obvious. For sausage, patties work best,
though if you slice links lengthwise, the flattened sides
let the pieces rest in comfortable permanence without the
threat of one slithering at first bite out the side of the
sandwich and onto the floor, only to disappear immediately
into the slobbering maw of your drooling pooch. Cold cuts
work, too. Just warm them briefly in a hot pan before
building your sandwich.
Grated or thinly sliced, cheese is wonderful when warm and
melty. My advice? When your egg is three quarters done, lay
cheese on top and cover the pan to melt, then scoop onto the
sandwich. Alternately, construct the entire sandwich,
complete with cheese. All other ingredients should be warm
or hot. Place the sandwich in a buttered saute pan, cover it
and warm over medium heat until the cheese melts, about a
Refried or mashed beans are great. So are fresh veggies like
tomato, onion or avocado, as long as they are perfectly
ripe. Be sure to season with a little salt to enhance their
Butter or mayo, of course, even mustard if youíre using
ham. Flavor your mayo with creamed garlic, or minced
chipotle or other hot sauces for a Latin flavor profile. Or
go Asian with Japanese miso or Korean condiments like
gochujang (spicy red chili paste) or ssamjang (fermented
ideas to get you started:
tortilla warmed over an open flame. Warm refried beans (or
black beans). Scrambled egg. Fresh onion dice. Mexican
cheese such as anejo or queso fresco or Mexican crema
(substitute sour cream). Salsa or pico de gallo. Minced
English muffin. Butter (optional). Crispy bacon. Over hard
egg (broken yolk). Cheddar or smoked Gouda cheese.
wheat bread. Ssamjang (a spicy Korean sauce) mayo. Kimchee
omelet. Barbecued pork or chicken.
toast. Maple syrup. Breakfast sausage. Over easy egg
(puncture yolk before positioning top piece of bread). Fruit