Breakfast sandwiches hold a very special place in my heart (er, stomach). When done right, they are everything that you could ever want in the morning: eggs, bacon, cheese, greens, and bread, all in one messy yet rewarding bite.
If you’re like me, as soon as you awake in the morning you want food in your stomach immediately. In an ideal world where work schedules didn’t exist, we’d have the time to bake fresh bread every day, but until then the next best thing is to find bread that’s already half-baked and finish at home. Trader Joe’s makes a great version of this, in their French rolls. All you have to do is preheat your oven, pop them in for about 10 minutes, and you’re good to go. Feel free, however, to use whatever type of bread you prefer. Except for maybe that stale loaf that’s been sitting on your shelf for a couple weeks. If this is you, then it’s time for a grocery store run, my friend.
Whenever I have made this recipe in the past, I would just top the fried egg with a couple slices of cooked pancetta, blue cheese, fresh alfalfa sprouts, and call it a day. However, I was recently brainstorming on how I could add something different to this recipe, and all of a sudden it hit me. Salad. Well, not to eat salad, per say, but rather that blue cheese and bacon are both ingredients in one of my favorite salads. Continuing that thought, what dressing would usually go with said favorite salad? Balsamic vinaigrette. Boom. Making a vinaigrette with the rendered pancetta fat and balsamic vinegar gives the alfalfa sprouts a very welcome flavor boost that I didn’t realize was missing until I tried it out. If there isn’t enough rendered fat from the pancetta to emulsify the vinegar, feel free to add some olive oil to get the consistency you need. In the end, you’re left with a glorious sandwich that will probably make you a little late for work- something we all need from time to time.
Fried Egg Sandwiches with Pancetta, Blue Cheese and Alfalfa Sprouts
Makes two sandwiches
- 2 half-baked French rolls/2 ciabatta rolls, or any kind of bread you prefer
- 5 thin slices pancetta, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
- 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mayo
- 2 eggs
- 1 to 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Follow instructions on bag to finish cooking half-baked rolls. When cool enough to touch, slice in half. *While I prefer these rolls the most, feel free to use any kind of bread as your sandwich vehicle- ciabatta rolls work great as well. Spread half of mayo on bottom side of each roll, and set aside.
Place pancetta in a skillet over medium heat to render fat, about 5-7 minutes or until crispy. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. When crisp, remove pancetta with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain. Pour rendered fat from pan into a small bowl- you should have about 1 teaspoon (if not enough, feel free to add about ½ teaspoon or so of olive oil to compensate.) Add the teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to the bowl and whisk until incorporated. Pour dressing over alfalfa sprouts, and toss with reserved pancetta, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Return pan to stove and place over medium heat. Melt and swirl butter evenly across the pan. Crack an egg into the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for one minute. Flip, and cook for an additional 15-20 seconds. Remove from pan and repeat with second egg.
Place eggs on bottom side of rolls. Divide alfalfa sprout mixture in half and place on top of each egg, followed by the blue cheese. Place top half of roll onto sandwich, and enjoy.