Friday, 26 March 2010

An egg for the day

The difficult thing about writing in this space is coming back after a period of absence. Like anything really, if you don't keep it up, flex the muscle, and keep well-oiled, things tend to fall apart a bit.

This, I remember, is why I always did my homework. I learned early that if you don't stay on top of papers or reading or even those little collage assignments we had to do as freshmen in high school for my untraditional Humanities class, it builds and worsens.

So here I am, a desktop full of photos waiting to be written about that I have been sneakily avoiding...and I have made the decision to begin again with the egg.

All eggs are not created equal. As Howard McGee has taught me in his epic "On Food and Science," eggs have serious grading divisions. And once you learn about these divisions, it's hard not to notice. The most obvious indicator of quality in an egg is the color of the yolk. While your standard Safeway egg will most likely have a pallid yolk that could hardly boast the title of "sunny" in a sunny-side up egg, farms eggs have yolks so vibrant they could make an orange blush.

Another indicator of freshness and quality is how much the egg holds its shape. This is twofold: both how perky the yolk is, and how much the white spreads when it is cracked into a pan. A good egg will have a yolk that sits tall and a white that hugs close to that yolk. A not so great egg will have a flattened yolk, with a white that spreads thin and wide over the pan.

These are some good eggs:

My current favorite egg dish is hardly a recipe, but holds it's own against any great meal: a bacon and fried egg sandwich, doused in tangy hot sauce.

This begins with excellent bread. My current favorite is the Como sandwich loaf from a bakery in Healdsburg, an uber chewy bread with finely ground cornmeal stirred into the dough before baking. It is yeasty and tangy, with a slight sourdough flavor.

Next, a slight smear of mayonnaise (if you are so inclined). Then, a layer of bacon. Not too crispy or it will shatter all over the place, but plenty of it, regardless of cooking technique. A slice of juicy tomato and some crispy lettuce, to complete the BLT. And then, the egg.

The egg must be runny. All of you hard yolk people, be warned, you may not be welcome in this scenario. The runny yolk is the glue of this sandwich. It runs and binds and messes all over the place. It mixes with the hot sauce (don't forget the hot sauce) and smears on your cheeks and runs down your elbows.

Think of those old Carl's Jr. ads, where basketball players made messiness appetizing. That's what you're going for here.

It's a beautiful combination, this sandwich. Devoted to the wonder of a good egg, there should be no messing around with pallid yolks or slimy lettuce. Go for the good stuff, and revel in dripping yolk.

Fried Egg and Bacon Sandwich

1 egg per person
2-3 slices bacon per person
2 slices bread per person
mayonnaise (optional)
hot sauce (not optional)
butter, for frying

1) Fry the bacon - tender but cooked through.

2) Prepare the lettuce and tomato.

3) Toast the bread, add mayonnaise if you like.

4) Arrange the bacon, lettuce, and tomato on one side of the bread.

5) Melt a tiny pat of butter in a nonstick pan. When it begins to sizzle, add the eggs. Cook on both sides till the white is set but the yolk is not yet cooked though. Slide the egg onto the second slice of bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle or drown in hot sauce.

6) Enjoy with copious napkins.

*April Update:

Fried egg sandwiches for a group: Happy Birthday Susan!


  1. YUMMY! What is your secret to perfect bacon?

  2. Low and slow! Actually, I nearly always end up burning my bacon because I like it on the crispy side, so this time was more of a challenge trying to keep it chewy. Also, we had this amazing smoked bacon from heritage pigs - that helps with the perfect factor as well!

  3. yes, royce "rendered" it one day at our house and i was amazed at how great it was -- and how long it took to cook. I have tried 6 times since then and burned it each time. sigh. Even Robin burned it when he tried. Last time we discovered the trick of taking it out of the pan before you think it is done, almost, but not quite, it will cook a bit more on its own. royce renders bacon remarkably well.