Yesterday morning, the failing Wall Street Journal shitposted their way into the discourse by suggesting people hit hard by inflation might save money by skipping breakfast. I couldn’t read the whole thing because it is, hilariously for such obvious clickbait, paywalled. But I don’t feel like I need to, because while it’s true that eggs are more expensive than they were a year (or even a few months) ago, they’re still a relatively cheap and filling food, and they make a hell of a sandwich. I eat them not only for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner, and don’t intend to stop, no matter what hot takes the wannabe Johnathan Swifts of the WSJ print.
This is all to say that I am passionate about breakfast sandwiches, and passion often leads to innovation or at least a few good suggestions. Here are 15 of my favourite ways to build a better breakfast sandwich, naysayers be damned.
Make your own McMuffin in five minutes
This McMuffin dupe may not have the sterile stratification of the fast food classic, but it sure tastes good. The filling ingredients are nestled inside a ramekin before being nuked and slid onto a toasted English muffin.
Build it on French toast
Building your breakfast sandwich on French toast — either freshly fried or leftover from weekend brunch — gives it a Monte Cristo vibe without all the deep frying. Don’t let the sweetness of the bread dissuade you from piling on savoury ingredients; this sandwich is best with a swipe of Dijon.
Use hash browns as bread
I adore a hash-browns-as-toast moment, and the salty, crunchy patties make an equally good sandwich foundation. My favourite is a SPAM and cheese — the slices fit onto the oblong patties perfectly — but I wouldn’t be mad if you added an egg.
Or stuff hash browns inside your sandwich
Hash browns also make a great sandwich filling. Whether you slide a McDonald’s patty onto your McMuffin or build your own sandwich from scratch, hash browns add bulk, flavour, and (most importantly) satisfying texture.
Breakfast sandwiches are almost always made with fatty, greasy ingredients. Adding some pickle slices balances out the richness and, as A.A. Newton explains, invites “the slightest bit of sour crunch to the grease orgy, creating an addictive contrast in flavours and textures and making you feel like you’re eating vegetables for breakfast.”
Pile on some fries
Putting hash browns on a breakfast sandwich is good, but putting fries on a breakfast sandwich is even better. As I’ve explained previously, it’s a matter of structure:
Flavour- and texture-wise, the experience was very similar to eating a hash-browned breakfast sandwich, with one key difference: The entanglement of potatoes helped hold the sandwich together by creating a little nest for the egg to rest in. This not only prevented the slippery fried egg from sliding off the sandwich, it created a sort of yolk dam, which kept more — if not all — of the golden, liquid yolk from spilling onto the plate.
Get some onion rings in there
Much like fries, onion rings act as a little nest for your eggs, keeping them on the sandwich until you bring it to your mouth. They also deliver the flavour of fried onions, which is a good, if ambitious, flavour with which to start your day. (Waffle the rings for extra texture.)
Don’t forget the mayo
Sandwiches, even those stacked with runny eggs and melted cheese, need lubrication, and nothing lubricates a sandwich quite like tangy mayo. (It also acts as a hydrophobic barrier, preventing your bread from getting soggy.) Mix in some hot sauce and you’ve got a stunner of a breakfast sandwich spread.
Grate a tomato on there for a taste of summer
Grating tomatoes on a breakfast sandwich is a clutch move that I’ve raved about before:
The raw, fresh tomato pulp functions somewhat like a jam, and somewhat like a condiment. It has the tanginess of ketchup with a lighter, juicier, fresher sweetness, along with the umami you would expect from a ripe summer tomato. It’s just really freaking good.
This sandwich is best when tomatoes are in season, but cherry tomatoes work pretty well in the gloomy winter months.
Fry the egg in cheese
In most cases, cheese adds a gooey element to the breakfast sandwich. Not so with the frico egg. By frying your egg directly in a pile of cheese, you can add a crispy, crunchy, salty element to your sandwich that you usually only get with bacon. (Don’t let this prevent you from adding a slice of melted cheese as well. I see no reason you shouldn’t have two types of cheese on your sandwich.)
Serve the egg upside down
Serving a sunny-side-up egg upside down gives the runny yolk nowhere to go but down into the bread. It seems silly, but it prevents yolk loss, and that’s important to me:
When you serve an egg on toast, yolk side up, the yolk has nowhere to go but down a slippery egg-white slope. Egg whites are not known for their ability to grip onto anything, which leads to the yolk running down the sides of the smooth white and onto the plate. (Yes, you can wipe it up with more toast, but I some mornings I just want one piece of bread.) Flip it over, and you put the yolk in direct contact with toast (a known yolk absorber).
Make two weeks’ worth of freezer-friendly sandwiches on one sheet pan
This is a very old recipe of mine, but one of my partner’s faves. All you have to do is bake some scrambled eggs on a sheet pan, cut them into squares or circles, then build two week’s worth of freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches. (If you go the circle route, you can use the egg scraps to make breakfast burritos.)
Make a bunch of sliders for a crowd
Every element of these pull-apart BEC sliders is cooked in a single pan. The eggs are actually cooked in the bacon drippings, making for an indulgent, waste-free brunch.
Make your own sausage (and shape it to fit your bread)
Making your own sausage isn’t the easiest way to elevate your breakfast sandwich, but I think it’s worth the effort. Not only is the flavour better — and exactly what you want it to be — but you can shape the patty to match your bread.
Eat a non-breakfast sandwich for breakfast
It should be pretty obvious by now that I love egg-based breakfast sandwiches, but I’m also a big fan of eating non-breakfast sandwiches for breakfast, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same (especially if you’re unwilling to buy eggs at their current cost). I have many suggestions for you to peruse in this article, but my favourite non-breakfast breakfast sandwich is the simple ham and butter (use a dry cured ham if you’re craving something fancy).
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