Bi-Rite Market's BLT&E with Harissa Mayo

Bi-Rite Market's BLT&E with Harissa Mayo

[Photograph: France Ruffenach]

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food to give away this week.

Eggs and bacon are an unbeatable combo much like bacon, lettuce, and tomato. So what happens when you join the two? Very good things. This BLT&E with Harissa Mayo, a work of sandwich genius from Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food does just that by topping an already exemplary BLT with a perfectly runny poached egg.

But wait, it gets better. Instead of spreading your sandwich with plain old mayo, this one gets a boost from harissa, that spicy-sweet red pepper paste hailing from North Africa. And there's no room for boring iceberg or romaine in this sandwich. Bitter radicchio or frisée take its place, dressed with punchy cider vinegar, shallots, and olive oil.

Why you should make this: This sandwich might not be your workaday BLT but in our estimation it's a billion times more thrilling.

Next time we might think about: Taking Bi-Rite's suggestion of mixing the mayo with a few teaspoons of Thai curry paste for an even more exotic take on the classic.

Adapted from Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food by Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:Serves 2 
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon harissa (see Note)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup lightly packed frisee or shredded radicchio, 
or a mixture
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 1/2-inch slices good-quality sandwich bread, 
such as pain de mie
  • 1 small ripe tomato, thinly sliced 


  1. 1.

    Combine the mayonnaise and harissa in a small bowl and stir until blended. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    Cut the bacon in half crosswise, arrange in a medium skillet, and put the skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning the bacon frequently, until cooked through and crispy but still a little chewy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside. 

  3. 3.

    Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Lower the heat to a bare simmer and add 
1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Crack an egg into a small cup or ramekin and, holding the cup just above the surface of the water, carefully pour the egg into the water. Repeat with the second egg. Cook the eggs until the whites have cooked through but the yolk is still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. (To check, carefully lift an egg out of the water with a slotted spoon. Prod the white—it should feel firm and bouncy all the way through.) With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to another paper towel–lined plate.

  4. 4.

     In a small bowl, combine the frisee or radicchio, the remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar, the shallot, and the olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to blend.

  5. 5.

    Toast or grill the bread to your liking, then spread the mayo evenly over two pieces. Top with the bacon, tomato, frisee, and egg. Sprinkle the egg with a little salt and pepper, then top with the other two pieces of bread.

  6. 6.

    Serve right away (with plenty of napkins).

    Note: Harissa is a chile-and-spice paste that hails from North Africa. For a slightly different effect, you could substitute a mild Thai curry paste or other Asian chile sauce.