Monday, February 27, 2012

fried egg sandwich with bacon and blue cheese

fried egg sandwich lyonnaise

Due to a delightful clerical error (a scheduled babysitter when we forgot Alex would be home from work), I got to have a weekday lunch with my husband on President’s Day. In a restaurant. With linens on the table and no sippy cups in a two-table radius! Oh, and maybe something petite, bubbly and pink in a glass. I admit nothing. But man, sometimes I think everyone should have kids just so they can get 80 times the joy out of excursions that would have been ordinary in another era. I am joking, of course. You should have kids because you detest sleeping past 6 a.m. Whoops, there I go again. It must be the pink bubbly.

what you'll need, besides hunger
frying thick-cut bacon lardons

It’s hardly a revolutionary concept, but like most parents, when away from a toddler’s totally respectably developed (his enthusiasm for both millet and cod, for goodness sake, far outweigh mine) but still quintessentially two year-old (“Mommy clean this” he said yesterday about a fleck of parsley on his carrot, while his father nearly fell off his chair laughing) palate, I go immediately for things he won’t go near, because, it’s cool, we can wait until your third birthday to introduce you do the joys of Sriracha. That day, it was a uber-bitter radicchio salad but quite often, it’s even simpler stuff — runny eggs, blue cheese, scratchy lettuces, sigh.

bacon vinaigrette so good you'll hate me

add blue cheese

Which brings me to my pre-kid favorite egg sandwich. A few weeks ago, I shared a recipe for the laziest, quickest, bodega knock-off egg-and-cheese sandwich on Cup of Jo. Nothing is simpler. It comes together less than five minutes and it is literally an egg formed a pocket of melted cheese. You’re welcome. At the other end of the egg sandwich elaboration spectrum is this, which introduces a classic French bistro salad to an American-style grab-and-go egg sandwich. They’re going to get along famously.

frying an egg
onto the sandwich

This is modeled after a Salade Lyonnaise, which is a frisée salad that’s been tossed with bacon, a bacon vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg. Here, the bacon-to-lettuce ratio is increased, the egg is fried instead of poached and a little blue cheese is added, just because. The result is a fantastic mess, more flavor than you ever thought possible to insert into an egg sandwich and hopelessly addictive. I first had a version of this at ‘Wichcraft (the Tom Colicchio sandwich chain that also inspired this beloved chickpea sandwich) but it’s even better made at home. For two. While the blue cheese-resistant member of your family tucks in a long weekend nap, visions of afternoon choo-choo train rides dancing in his head.

fried egg sandwich with bacon and blue cheese

One year ago: Pina Colada Cake
Two years ago: Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
Three years ago: Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Meatball Sliders and Key Lime Coconut Cake
Four years ago: Pear and Almond Tart, Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs and Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges
Five years ago: Vegetable Dumplings and Recipes for Cumin Junkies

Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese [Egg Sandwich Lyonnaise]
Inspired by ‘Wichcraft + my favorite bistro salad

Note: If you don’t like like frisée lettuce, spinach is also a great friend to bacon vinaigrettes. The blue cheese could be replaced with another sharp, crumbly cheese.

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 ciabatta rolls

1 1/2 cups frisée (French curly endive), torn into-bite size pieces (about 2 ounces)
1 bacon slice, preferably thick-cut
1 tablespoon minced shallot (from 1 small)
1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 to 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
2 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Split your rolls and put them in to toast.

Place frisée in a medium bowl. Cut bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch wide lardons. In a small heavy skillet, cook bacon over moderate heat, until pieces are crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels, reserving bacon fat in pan. Add shallot to bacon fat and cook for one minute, stirring. Add red wine vinegar and let hiss and bubble for 20 to 30 seconds, then remove from heat and whisk in Dijon. Immediately pour hot dressing over frisée and toss with drained lardons, salt and pepper. Don’t try the salad just yet or you will be tempted to eat it just the way it is when, I promise, it’s even better with an egg on top.

Remove rolls from toaster and divide bacon-frisee salad between each bottom bun. You’ll want to heap on more than seems feasible or needed, especially once you realize how tasty it is. Top each salad pile with half (2 tablespoons) of the blue cheese.

Reheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and swirl it to coat the pan. Crack one egg into the skillet, season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium. I like to cover the skillet with a small lid at this point, as it seems to help the egg cook faster and more evenly. In one minute, you should have a perfect sunny-side-up egg. However, I find that for this sandwich, to somewhat rein in the mess, it helps to then flip the egg for 20 to 30 seconds, until the yolk is still runny, but less likely to run right off your sandwich.

Remove the egg from the pan and place it on top of the bacon-frisée salad on the bun. Repeat with remaining egg and come on, what are you waiting for? Dig in.


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