Sometimes in the midst of cooking a meal, I’ll look at the mountain of sauce pots and sheet pans accumulating in the sink and realize that I’ve once again fallen into the trap of doing the absolute most. By this, I mean that I love elaborate culinary projects; I tend to think about them all week and reserve an entire day (or two) over the weekend to execute them. It’s fun, for example, to decide to make spaghetti — with homemade two-day sauce, pasta, and meatballs. Why not try my hand at focaccia, too? Oh, and now would be a good time to try out a 16-step cocktail, too.
But this kind of cooking isn’t always feasible for every meal, and as a result I can be a little “all or nothing” when it comes to my time in the kitchen. In the coming year, I’m focusing on pulling back a little bit and thinking about what elements of a dish actually make a difference, like in this breakfast sandwich.
The 2019 Me would probably end up trying — and failing — to make bread, waste time shredding potatoes, and would most like likely text one of my friends who is a butcher to see about the feasibility of curing bacon at home. But 2020 Me realizes that what really makes this sandwich is the homemade blackberry, red onion jam. That seems like growth, right?
Breakfast Sandwich with Bacon and Blackberry & Red Onion Jam
2 slices of bread — I like something that is sturdy, but soft like potato or oatmeal bread
2 slices of center-cut bacon
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon of cream or half-and-half
¼ cup of thawed, frozen hashbrowns
1 generous handful of baby arugula
1 slice or ¼ cup of shredded smoked gouda
⅓ cup of fresh blackberries
¼ cup of red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of neutral oil
2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- In a small saucepan, sauté the red onion in a tablespoon of oil until soft, about five minutes. Add blackberries, brown sugar and red wine vinegar and bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat. Let the jam gently simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally as it thickens. Take off the heat and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously sprinkle bacon with freshly ground pepper on a sheet pan. Bake until desired crispness, 15 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Using a paper towel, wring any moisture from the shredded hashbrowns and salt and pepper them. Sauté in a tablespoon of oil until golden and crispy.
- Whisk one egg with the cream and add salt and pepper. Add one tablespoon of butter to a small nonstick pan and, using a heatproof rubber spatula, cook, lifting edges and tilting skillet to let uncooked egg flow underneath. Once the eggs are mostly set, fold the eggs in half, then in half again.
- Begin arranging your sandwich! The ideal stack is as follows: bread, cheese, egg, fried potatoes, bacon, arugula, jam, bread.
- In a pan, melt the remaining butter and gently lift your sandwich into the pan. Allow the bread to crisp up — about two minutes — then flip to the other side. Plate the sandwich and enjoy.