I've had this particular sandwich on the brain for several months now, ever since a cafe near my house started serving a similar sandwich, made with braised kale, sausage and a fried egg. I've eaten it for lunch, I've eaten it for dinner, but because the cafe doesn't open until midday, I've never eaten it for breakfast. For that I'd have to make my own version.
Instead of sausage, I started with good bacon, just enough to add flavor and crispness, as well as a thin film of fat on the pan, perfect for cooking the kale and garlic. It's a riff on Brazilian-style collard greens, which ditch the usual long, slow braising in favor of a quick sauté. Thinly slicing the greens ensures they won't be too tough, while the residual bacon grease infuses them with a smoky flavor and just enough salt. Sprinkling them with a little vinegar after cooking adds some brightness.
With the bun toasted and the kale and bacon prepped, all that is left to do is fry the egg. I do it in the same skillet, wiped clean after cooking the kale, until the edges are crispy and lacy, and the yolk is still soft. Then kale, bacon and egg get piled onto the bun, taken to the table and — slice, ooze, yum — breakfast is served. Or, you know, lunch. Or dinner. For those in the pro-egg-yolk camp, this sandwich is made for any time of day.
Kale, Bacon and Egg Sandwich
Makes one sandwich
1 piece bacon
1 1/2 cups kale, chopped into 1/2" ribbons
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 whole wheat bun, toasted
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg
Mayonnaise or softened butter (optional)
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off the bacon grease, leaving just a thin film on the pan. Add the garlic and kale to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, tossing frequently and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Taste and add salt if needed. Cook until kale is tender, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if needed to keep kale moist as it cooks. Sprinkle with vinegar, then remove from pan and set aside.
Wipe skillet clean and add vegetable oil (or 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon grease, if you're feeling frisky). Over medium heat, fry the egg. While it cooks, assemble the rest of the sandwich: place the kale on the bottom half of the bun. Cut the bacon in half crosswise and place on top of the kale. Spread mayonnaise or butter on the top half of the bun.
Top the kale and bacon with the fried egg and the top bun. Serve immediately, cutting in half just before eating.
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)