It is universally true for all cuisines and palates that the combination of carbohydrates and fat produces the most delicious food. The breakfast sandwich, once placed on menus for those who'd self-describe as "on-the-go," is simply the implementation of that equation. Carbohydrate plus fat equals satiated, button popping, droopy-eyed happiness.
This particular breakfast sandwich was inspired by a version we ate at the Merritt Parkway Canteen in Bridgeport, Connecticut (where the sign out front presents a curious equation of its own: "0% trans fat free cooking"). This is a breakfast you will alter your morning routine for...
We discovered this sandwich while driving through Connecticut on the Merritt Parkway where there are too few gas stations and too many curves. Imagining the start of a horror movie about to unfold - running out of gas and stalling on the business end of a hairpin turn - worked up quite a hunger. We pulled over at the Merritt Parkway Canteen, saw 3 pounds of bacon on a griddle and knew that no matter what, no matter what bland horror would greet us in the pick-up line, at the very least there was always bacon. Bacon is our breakfast stopgap.
Unlike some other egg sandwiches - the Spanglish sandwich being one example - the Merritt Parkway is very simple and can be altered to taste.
The key to the sandwich is the fried onions. They need to be thickly cut and well cooked - slippery and sweet. As with all recipes season throughout the process, don't wait until the end to add salt and purchase the freshest ingredients possible.
If your egg yolks are the color of banana yogurt, you'll lose the delicious yolkiness that makes this sandwich so rich. Bread choice is really up to you and your preferred bread-to-filling ratio. I tend to prefer less bread which is why I like the Portuguese Hard Rolls. Kaiser rolls, fresh ciabatta and thickly cut toast also work well. Stay away from bagels unless you enjoy hot dollops of egg falling into your lap.
The Merritt Parkway Breakfast Sandwich
2 Portuguese Hard Rolls
2 eggs (if they have been in the refrigerator let them sit out for about 20-30 minutes to bring them to room temperature if you have the time)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
1/2 Spanish onion, sliced into ribbons 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon dark brown mustard
Kosher salt and pepper
Slice rolls in half and toast them so that they are heated and slightly browned. Do not over-toast or they will be too crunchy and difficult to eat. Err on the side of caution and use the lowest setting on your toaster.
In a heavy skillet heat the ghee on a medium flame. Once it's melted and hot add the onions with a sprinkle of salt and a few twists of pepper from a pepper grinder. Stir occasionally. Once they are soft and translucent add the chopped parley. Again, salt and pepper if neccessary. Continue to stir until the fragrance changes slightly so that you can smell the parsley. Turn off heat.
In a nonstick skillet add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Allow to heat for 2 minutes and then crack a single egg in the pan. Add salt and pepper. The edges of the egg should immediately curl up. Once the edges have hardened turn the heat down slightly. Flip the egg over and cook until the yolk is at your desired firmness. Turn off heat.
Spread mustard on top side of one of the rolls, add the egg to the bottom. Spoon half the onion mixture on top of the egg. Place bun on top, slice in half. Cook the second egg with the other 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil. Assemble in the same manner.
If you are one of the aforementioned "on-the-go" persons, wrap the sandwich in parchment, not plastic wrap. It will be warm and some of the steam needs to escape or else you will end up with a soggy breakfast. And isn't Connecticut damp enough without a dewy sandwich?
This is by Vanessa, who is up for one of our new writer positions. Welcome Vanessa!