I suspect the the “fried egg sandwich” is a cultural expression of a pretty middle-class upbringing in parts of Canada and the USA. Beyond that, I would guess the origins are some country in Europe. If anyone knows the answer, let me know, but my guess is Scandinavia, England, or France.
However, like so many “lowly” dishes, these become the comfort foods for many of us in adulthood … that is unless your mother or father botch them and leave you scarred for life. For me, the fried egg sandwich is more typically cooler weather fare, but I asked myself, why aren’t we eating this in summer when we can pair the simple egg with so many other lovely ingredients that scream fresh and summer?
What follows is my take on the fried-egg sandwich and inspired in part by my CSA share this week. And, yes, with 2 heads of lettuce, I could continue to invent new salads and new dressings, but sometimes the forest is just a tree. Why does “lettuce” have to be something else when it could just be paired with other things?
The keys to this dish are using the best ingredients you can find, from the egg, the bread itself, to the cheese and veggies. The better your ingredients, the better this sandwich is going to be. The other key is cooking the perfect fried egg. It’s hard to imagine a recipe for a fried egg, but, in my experience, something so simple is rarely done ‘right.’ If you don’t like a runny yolk, cook it longer — but for those that want to taste the creaminess of the yolk actually filling the sandwich, follow the recipe.
Finally — be prepared to get your hands messy. Some of best pleasures in life are messy — so grab a serviette and get ready to lick your fingers!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5
Total time: 20 minutes
Tomato Salad (5 Ways)
- Good quality bread (your choice) for 2 sandwiches
→ I used a stuffable multigrain flatbread
- 2 leaves of organic red-leaf lettuce, cut chiffonade (i.e. “shredded”)
- 2-4 strips of bacon, fried
- 1 tomato
- 2 slices of aged cheddar (e.g. 2 year old)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon mayonaise
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon feta, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon of chives, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder
- sprinkling of black pepper
- In a non-stick pan, fry the bacon until it is cooked to your taste — don’t overcook, though, or it will “shatter” in the sandwich. Remove and wrap in a paper towel and let cool.
→ For real decadence, pour excess fat, but keep some bacon fat in the pan and use this for later to fry the eggs.
- Wash and dry the lettuce leaves, then carefully roll together (like a cigar) and then coarsely slice it into shreds. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4″ rounds. Slice the cheese.
- To prepare the curried cream, crumble the feta into a bowl and add the mayonnaise and crème fraîche. Dice and mix in the chives. Add the curry powder and adjust for taste. You should be able to taste it, but not overwhelming. Season with pepper. Mix well.
- Toast the bread (if you’re going to toast) or otherwise prepare your bread.
- Spread a heaping teaspoon of curried cream onto the bottom of the bread. Top with lettuce, cheese, bacon and tomatoes.
- Over fairly high heat, reheat the pan with the bacon fat. When hot, crack in your eggs — if you like your yolks runny, be careful not to break the yolk. Season with salt and pepper. Fry for about 3 minutes until the outside edges of the egg are cooked and the whites are starting to be opaque. Now, with the edge of the spatula, break the yolk and flip the eggs. (Note: the eggs are ready to flip when the bottom has started to crisp a bit and won’t tear when flipping). They key to perfect over-easy eggs is to cook for only about 30 seconds or less once flipped. You’re just searing the top of the egg (whites and yolk).
- Remove eggs to prepared sandwiches and enjoy.
Serves 2 or double-triple recipe for more people.