How to Make a Better Breakfast Sandwich


Breakfast sandwiches are easy to come by in New York City. There are small, shiny aluminum food carts parked on the sidewalks and near Subway entrances all around town. The smell of frying bacon and eggs wafts down the Subway steps, mingling with fellow commuters' perfume and the nose-twitch-inducing stench of garbage that no one ever becomes immune to. Delis and bodegas also serve these on-the-go breakfasts, and people crowd into them yelling out "egg on a roll!" while others rush out, briefcases swinging and high heels clicking, peeling back the foil on these sandwiches that will be consumed before they hit the "up" elevator button.

Convenient, quick, and cheap, it's easy to understand why the breakfast sandwich is ideal for a city that's always on the go.

Despite their popularity, however, these sandwiches leave much to be desired. The rolls are dry and flavorless, the eggs underseasoned, and the filling can be a tad cold. This is a homemade version of this city's breakfast sandwich, so a bit more attention is paid to each of the ingredients. The end result is basically the better-tasting cousin of the original.

In an attempt to improve the roll, I always ask for it to be griddled, but more often than not, the request is ignored. Here, I've brushed both outsides of the bun as well as cut-sides with butter and griddled them to add crunch and flavor. For meat additions I've gone with bacon and ham. The bacon is cooked until crisp and the ham is then quickly sautéed in the rendered fat, just to warm through and take advantage of the smoky, porky drippings left in the pan. There's enough grease in the pan left over to fry the eggs which are appropriately seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper.

The whole mess of ham, bacon, eggs, and thin slices of yellow American cheese are piled onto one side of the bun, then covered and pressed to squash everything together: cheese melts on contact with the hot contents, egg yolks ooze out velvety yellow goodness, fat-slicked ham nestles crisp strips of bacon. A cup of coffee and you're ready for the day.