The Divine Secrets of the Best Breakfast Sandwich You’ll Ever Make
Chicago’s crown prince on the art of egg and toasted bread
Did you have a complete breakfast™ this morning?
Did you have any breakfast this morning?
Chances are you did, and if it was a breakfast sandwich, chances are, we assume, it was good. Because who doesn’t love waking up to a balanced assemblage of egg, meat and fixins’?
But man cannot just fry an egg, slap it between two slices of Wonder Bread and justly believe he’s created a good breakfast. The egg sandwich is an art.
That’s why we hit up Drew Davis, head chef over at The Eastman Egg Company, a food truck turned full-blown sandwich shop that slings delicious breakfast sammies to hungry Chicagoans all over the Loop and beyond. Below, Davis reveals the secrets to a better egg sandwich, along with a step-by-step recipe you can get to building tomorrow morning.
“Now, let’s be clear. If we’re talking weekends at home with all the time in the world, a runny yolk is a beautiful thing on a sandwich. It’s worth every gluttonous, finger-licking moment. However, if you’re trying to grab this sammy and run out the door to work, the runny yolk is not your friend. At the restaurant, we do a folded omelet to keep the size and texture of the egg consistent so that every bite is awesome.”
“We’re a firm believer in toasted over griddled or warmed. When the bread is toasted, it absorbs more of the sauce and toppings from the sandwich and the flavors fuse into the bread itself. This, friends, is the hallmark of an excellent sandwich.”
“Crunchy and crispy are the two most popular menu words in America for a reason. What not everyone knows, though, is that crunchy is best when contrasted with something soft and pillowy like, say, a fluffy omelet. Cucumbers, radishes, tempura bits, panko flakes, or even potato chips are awesome ways to make each bite of your sandwich crazy exciting.”
“Eggs have a subtle flavor even though they’re very rich. This means that even when applied liberally, spices and sauces have to work overtime to make themselves heard. Salsa verde is amazing with eggs. You can make it cooked if you have some extra time, or just toss raw tomatillos, poblanos, garlic, cilantro, onion and a bit of mezcal (don’t overthink this — this will not get you buzzed before work) into a blender and stand back. You just created something unspeakably tasty.”
How to Make the Eastman
1 ciabatta roll
2 oz. smoked ham
4 cucumber slices
1 slice mild cheese
1 oz. sweet chili sauce (recipe to follow)
2 tbsp olive oil
- Beat the eggs vigorously until there is no difference between the yolk and the white, and the liquid is a uniform color.
- Place a pan over medium heat for two minutes. After two minutes, add olive oil to the pan and swirl. It should not smoke. If it does, your pan is too hot and you need to turn down the heat.
- Place the bread in the toaster and crisp to desired toastiness.
- Pour your eggs into the pan — they should quickly start to bubble gently. When it is clear that the bottom of the eggs has set into an even layer, fold the left edge of the eggs into the middle of the pan, and then fold the right on top of them. You should now have an egg rectangle with the short edges slightly rounded. Fold each end of the rectangle toward the middle, and you should have a perfect square with each side folded. Flip the egg square once and allow to finish cooking for 30 seconds.
- After removing the egg from the pan, add your ham to the same pan (why dirty another?). Quickly cook on both sides for 30 seconds.
- Assemble. The order is as follows: bottom bun, sweet chili sauce, cucumbers, cheese, hot egg, hot ham, top bun.
Sweet Chili Sauce (Yields two quarts)
1,000ml rice wine vinegar
250g cane sugar
800g red bell peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 whole jalapeno, chopped (with seeds)
50g garlic, peeled, whole
25g xantham gum
7g salt, to taste
- Combine all ingredients except xantham gum and place in a non-reactive pot. Place over high heat, bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the xantham gum and using an immersion blender, thoroughly blend all ingredients so that there are no obvious bits.