Monday, April 16, 2012

My new favorite breakfast sandwich

I had planned a hike and a picnic in the park this past weekend, but when the day came we decided to stay in and get some things done around the house. It's great to have plans, but sometimes for me it's more fun and relaxing to not have to go anywhere, to be flexible, and more spur-of-the-moment.

So our change in schedule was welcomed and presented itself as more an opportunity than a disappointment.

Besides, we could always take a walk in our neighborhood and eat our picnic food in the yard, if we were so inclined.

A good picnic or quick, on-the-go meal for any Italian, a native or a descendant, usually involves warm, crusty bread and prosciutto. I knew the food I purchased wouldn't go to waste during the week if we didn't go to the park and picnic, but since I like to think creatively about our meals, I had an idea for our Sunday breakfast. 

And with our son visiting for the weekend, I wanted to whip up something special.

Sorry! This is a two-inch leftover I ate the next day.
I didn't think to take a pic of this awesome breakfast when I was cooking.
But you get the idea of the layers and flavors of this sandwich.

This is now my new favorite breakfast sandwich that will be made again and again. I'm already a big fan of everything bagels with egg and cheese and Italian bread with fried eggs, cheese, provolone, and red peppers, but this sandwich takes the Italian egg sandwich to a new level that I'm really loving.

There are no specific measurements for the ingredients. Add as much or as little of each as you like. You can make just one for yourself or have enough for a fun brunch where guests assemble the layers on their own.

Be creative and add what you like to this mix to make this sandwich your own. I'm sure I'll also mix it up myself, trying new combos here and there, but here's my version from this weekend to get you started:

Therese's Italian egg sandwich (assembled in the order of the ingredients)

Any good Italian or French bread you like
Basil pesto
Fried egg (one or two per person, depending on your preference and how much bread you want to fill)
Fried or roasted red peppers
Sautéed Swiss chard or any other green you like (I'm going to try broccoli rabe next)
Artichoke spread (Trader Joe's makes a good one)

So while hubby was frying up an egg for each of us, I fried some red peppers I had in the fridge, and decided to sauté some leftover Swiss chard in olive oil to add some greens for more color.

Weekly, I buy this excellent line of bread at Trader Joe's that you bake at home. I like to buy the bag of six ciabattini rolls since they're just the perfect amount to throw a roll or two into the oven for fresh-baked bread at dinner each night for just hubby and me.

But since I knew I'd have more of a crowd in the house this weekend, I bought two long Ficelle loaves in a package that serves six. Ficelle is type of French bread that is similar to a baguette but much thinner. The word ficelle literally means "string" in French. Fresh from the oven with a hard, brown crust and plenty of air pockets, this bread, I knew, would be perfect for filling with lots of good stuff for picnic or hearty breakfast sandwiches.

The crusty Ficelle loaves fresh from the oven took about 10 minutes. As soon as they came out I opened them up and spread basil pesto on the inside. And then I layered the prosciutto and the provolone, so the cheese and the little bit of pork fat on the prosciutto would melt into the warm bread. Mmm. I can taste it now.

Then I added the fried eggs and topped it all off with some artichoke spread. If I hadn't started with warm bread I would have put these in the oven a few moments to meld all the ingredients, but that wasn't needed on this day. 

By the time I added the rest of the layers, we each had a two-fisted, rich and hearty egg sandwich with all the flavors we love. Everyone had plenty since the sandwiches were filling.

I used the fresh ingredients I had in my kitchen and fed my family the way I like.

Yes, I always love any sandwich with a fried egg, but this one was especially good, so I'll definitely make it again. And maybe I'll fry up some broccoli rabe, green peppers, and sausage next time to go with my fried egg. I can smell and taste that delicious combo already.

Let me know about any good breakfast sandwiches you've made or if you decide to try any of the ideas I've offered here. I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, yours in fun and food...Therese

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