My world totally changed when I moved to New York for college: I no longer had to wake up at 9:45 to catch the first Sunday game. I quickly realized the pitfall of getting to sleep in was having to stay parked on the couch until late in the night, which often led to some academic sacrifices… (usually my econ homework.) 6 years and a full-time job later, my sleep patterns are completely different; these days I consider myself lucky if my internal clock lets me sleep past 9 on the weekend. I’m back in California now, and over the last 2 years, I’ve found myself not only bright eyed and caffeinated by kickoff, but also very well-fed. These breakfast sandwiches have become a Sunday favorite of mine, and I really wish I’d made them in college instead of hitting the Starbuck’s drive-thru every week.
There are 3 things that make this breakfast sandwich different from – and better than! – your go-to pickup:
1) Homemade bread (just plan ahead and bake it off on Saturday).
2) Slow-cooked scrambled eggs (yes, fried eggs are traditional. But do you really want to deal with runny yolk while you eat over your lap?).
3) Using bacon fat instead of butter (no additional required).
Note: I said this was delicious, not healthy/low-fat/low-carb/diet/etc. It’s Sunday, it’s early, and I presume you enjoyed your Saturday and need some help feeling human again. No? Then you’re doubly entitled to indulge a little since you were so responsible last night. Still not buying it? OK, see the recipe notes for both a vegetarian and a healthier alternative. Just please, please, please make your own bread.
Note the bread to filling ratio on this beauty: the bread is sliced just thickly enough to support the weight of all ingredients and is neither cardboard thin nor Texas-toast thick. The ingredients are assembled in a way that keeps the sandwich intact, even if eaten with one hand over a napkin. The cheese layer on the bottom melts and forces the bacon to stick to it, while the weight of the eggs pushes the bacon into the aforementioned sticky cheese. Don’t worry about the eggs sliding around – they adhere to themselves after they’ve set, so once you’ve got the breakfast sandwich assembled, you should be good.
- Bread boule - 4 slices (homemade or from a good bakery. You can bake your bread the morning of or the night before.)
- Cheese of your choice - 8 deli-size slices (I used American)
- Bacon - 8 slices
- Eggs - 8
- Mise en place, and read this recipe all the way through.
- Crack all eggs into a large bowl and season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Beat lightly with a fork or whisk and set aside.
- Fry up your bacon in a large non-stick skillet. Depending on size, you may need to do this in 2 batches.
- Drain the rendered fat into a heatproof vessel and wipe out any residue (do this after each batch to avoid burning).
- Allow the pan to cool by removing it from the burner it was on while you complete the next step.
- Brush one side of each slice of bread with bacon fat and set aside, brushed side up.
- Return the nonstick skillet to the stove and set over low heat.
- Add 1 TBSP of reserved bacon fat to the skillet and swirl to coat.
- Pour in eggs, and immediately start stirring with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon.
- Cook over low heat until the eggs are just barely set. They may look a little runny, but they'll continue to cook while they're assembled and kept warm in the oven.
- Transfer the eggs to a large bowl and wipe the pan clean of any egg residue.
- Place 2 slices of bread fatted side down in the same skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add 2 slices of cheese and 2 slices of bacon to each, then top with one fourth of the scrambled eggs.
- Cook just until the cheese melts, then carefully transfer to a 200 degree oven and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
These can be assembled 30 minutes ahead of time and kept warm in a low oven if the eggs are slightly underdone. To make this vegetarian, use soy bacon and brush the bread with softened butter. To make this healthier, replace the cheese with avocado and use tomato in place of bacon; toast the bread and assemble.
Dare to be different! Try different cheeses (the deli will generally sell you anything they put on sandwiches), different breakfast meats, and different flavor profiles. Let me know what combinations you come up with!