HAM & CHEESE BREAKFAST SANDWICH

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

With a surplus of homemade English muffins lying around just waiting to go stale, I started to wonder if there was another use for them that I’d yet to consider.  Enter the breakfast sandwich.  Like spicy fried chicken sandwiches, I ate my fair-share of these hand-held wonders growing up.  Today, sadly, I don’t make it down to the old Micky-D’s as often as I once did.  Not as keen on eating battery-farmed eggs and sub-par pork products, I’ve been at a loss in my search for a breakfast sandwich made with good, quality ingredients.  Believe me, I’ve checked.  So, armed with a fresh package of organic American cheese slices, a carton of pasture-raised, organic eggs and some preservative-free Canadian bacon, I set out to recreate a more wholesome version of the iconic breakfast sandwich of my youth.

I’m not much of a sweets guy when it comes to breakfast.  In fact, I’ll pass on the french toast, Belgium waffles and pancakes just about any day of the week.  Instead, this is what I crave.  A warm, lightly toasted English muffin slathered with butter, topped with gooey cheese, salty meat and a perfectly seasoned egg.  It might not be brain-food, but with one of these in your belly, I guarantee you’ll be well-equipped to deal with any of the day’s challenges.  So, if you’re like me and love a great breakfast sandwich but are less than inclined to patronize the local fast-food mega-chain, do what I did and make one for yourself.  I think it goes without saying that they were OUTSTANDING.  I’d like to think of them as another perfect example of a fast-food favorite cooked with slow food sensibilities.

BREAKFAST SANDWICH

If you’re any kind of fan of the classic Egg McMuffin, odds are you don’t need a recipe to put one of these together.  Cheese, egg and Canadian bacon is a pretty straightforward concept, but if you really want to reproduce a sandwich that is true to the original you are going to have to create one of those unnaturally perfect egg discs.  I played around with a couple of different techniques and eventually settled on cooking the egg in a ring mold set inside of a skillet over low heat.  Another option would be to slowly bake the eggs inside the cups of a silicone muffin mold.  That being said, I also made one using soft-scrambled eggs and another with a soft-centered, over-easy egg that were each outstanding, so feel free to break from convention.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 extra-large, organic eggs from pasture raised chickens
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 English muffins, fork split
  • 4 slices organic American cheese
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

  1. Warm 2 tablespoons of the butter in large, nonstick skillet over low heat.  Rub the inside of a 3-inch ring mold or cookie cutter with some butter or spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray.  Repeat with the remaining molds and set them inside of the skillet to heat up slightly.
  2. Carefully crack each of the four eggs into their own small bowls or teacups.  Taking your time, and ensuring that each ring mold is sitting squarely on the base of the skillet, pour the eggs from their cups into the ring molds.  Season the eggs to taste with salt and black pepper.  Now is the time to break the yoke if you want.  Cover the skillet and allow the eggs to gently cook until they have set and are no longer runny, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly toast the English muffins and warm the Canadian bacon in another small skillet set over medium heat.
  4. When the eggs are cooked, carefully remove the molds from the skillet.  If the eggs do not release on their own from the molds, run a small paring knife along the base of the mold to free any stuck edges.
  5. Compose the sandwiches by lightly buttering each half of the English muffins then layer a slice of American cheese, then the egg followed by a slice of the warmed Canadian bacon.  Top with the other half of the muffin and serve immediately.

Makes 4 sandwiches

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    • Kevin
    • November 25th, 2009

    My parents are going to love waking up to some of these the day after Thanksgiving.

    With tryptophan still in our blood stream from the night before, I doubt any of us will want to venture out to grab breakfast as a nearby restaurant. Instead, I can already see my family sitting around the kitchen table in their robes chowing down on these with a side dish of ‘quality time’ with the kids who are visiting for the holidays.

    Very good recommendation, especially given the season.

    • Adelina
    • December 3rd, 2009

    This is very nice! Will you let me know why you have to crack the egg first in a bowl before transfering it to the ring? It’s very interesting to know a simple, extra technique can make a different to a final dish!

    Great looking “Egg McMuffin”!!!

  1. Adelina – Thanks for the comment! Cracking the egg into a small teacup is not 100% necessary, but it’s a trick especially when you are poaching eggs. Not only does it allow you to make sure that the egg is still good, but it also allows you do remove any shell fragments and ensure that your yolk hasn’t broken. From the teacup, you can gently slide your egg into simmering water, or in this case, the warm ring mold.

    • Molly
    • December 8th, 2009

    I can’t help thinking that a nice slice of provolone would be an improvement over american cheese. Plus the shape is correct.

  2. An improvement perhaps, but I was kinda going for the classic American cheese and egg combination made famous by a certain burger chain. I didn’t even know that organic American cheese existed until recently, and I have to say that it’s a welcome addition to my recipe development arsenal. With that being said, I love a nice melty slice of provolone as much as the next guy.

  1. November 30th, 2009