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Monday, May 21, 2012

Bacon and Egg Bagelwiches

So... you know I don't have any real culinary training or professional experience.  

At all.

That said, I did spend a (rather inordinate) amount of time in the food service industry once upon a time.  

My first job - a part-time job when I was still only 15 years old - was at A&W.  There wasn't much available in my suburban hometown.

Anyway... I give you full permission to make fun of that all you like... you would not be the first.

But say what you will, I did learn a surprising amount of things.  Of course I am loathe to create any comparisons to a real professional kitchen, there were still many... elements which were similar.  Kitchen stations, and working on-the-line, for example...  The most notable I'd say though, was working at the prep table.  I learned a lot about how to quickly and efficiently chop and prep massive amounts of vegetables (like tomatoes, lettuce, and onions... oh so many onions... floor-to-ceiling bags of onions...).

Those skills are useful to me even today.

However, there are also a few - somewhat more esoteric - tricks I picked up.  Grilling a perfect hamburger patty, frying immense amounts of bacon, and making home-made onion rings from scratch are of course tacit.

But I also learned how to make a wicked-ass bacon and egger.

A true bacon and egger (I don't think I'm divulging any corporate secrets or anything by saying this...this info is freely given, I believe) is one and a half pieces of bacon on top of a slice of 'american' cheese (processed cheese) on top of a split-yolk fried egg, and sandwiched between a toasted and lightly-buttered sesame-seed bun.  The same bun - incidentally - that they use for their burgers.

I never used to like eggs all that much, but these beautiful creations changed all that.

They're like crack.

I've replicated it rather faithfully now and then over the years, but the core of making this delicious breakfast sandwich is pretty simple and I apply it to many a morning's meal.  Well... truthfully maybe 3 or 4 times a year.  :)  

The trick is to have a good metal egg ring.

Poaching rings are great for this.  I used to have some, but ever since I started 'free poaching' [see my video! :) ] eggs, the cumbersome rings were just taking up space in my smallish kitchen.

But you probably have some, and if you don't they're good to have around, and good for multiple purposes as well - provided you have the space in your kitchen.

Today, I decided to apply this general idea to another common fast-food breakfast item: the bagelwich.


So... start with the bacon.  Fry up at least 2 pieces per sandwich.

Standard technique applies; drain fat, turn over, and dry on paper towel.

If you want your bacon to look 'pretty' make sure you arrange them carefully when you set them to dry on the paper towel.  They will take on the shape of that which you originally set them at this point.  So, if you stretch them out nice and straight as soon as you take them out of the pan, they'll stay that way instead of being all gnarly and curly.

After that, make sure your pan is relatively clean, and your heat is on medium.  If you need to take your pan off for a minute to cool off before this step, go ahead, but it is important that it not be too hot at this stage.

Crack an egg, carefully break the yolk (not with the egg-shell which can carry a surprising amount of bacteria on it), add about a teaspoon of cold water, and then cover the whole thing with your metal apparatus.  

If you DO have a nice poaching ring, you can lightly grease the sides, put it in your pan first, and then crack your egg right into that, for a perfectly round egg.

As mentioned above, I did NOT have a poaching ring... so I used a small mixing bowl.  It meant that the eggs were not as pretty, but it still works.

As you can see:

After about a minute only, you can take the ring (or whatever you used) right off (carefully because the sides might stick) and it should be good to go.  If someone prefers an "over-hard" egg you can flip it over and give it another 30 seconds or so.  Over-medium is still fine for sandwich purposes I believe, and certainly cooked enough that you don't have runny yolk running through your sandwich.  Which can be delicious in its own right, but that is not what this type of sandwich is all about.

I toasted a couple of bagels (multi-grain for me, sourdough for the wife) and spread just a light layer of an olive oil mayo.

The bacon was 'dry' at this point, and cool to the touch, so I broke them up into halves and spread them out on the bagel tops, ready to receive the eggs.

When the eggs were done - I did them one-at-a-time, because they don't take too long, and also because I only had the one 'ring' - carefully transfer them to the bottom of the bagel.

I don't know if you've seen my secret egg spice, but it's not really all that secret.  It's basically cayenne with a dash of sel gris...  basically.  ;)

A sprinkle or three of that, and they are good to go!

You could put a slice of cheese on there if you want...  it is delicious after all... but it certainly doesn't need it.

Close it up, carefully slice it in half if you like, and serve with fresh coffee and some hash brown patties and you've got a decent facsimile of a fast-food breakfast.  

Including all the associated guilt (and health) issues!

heh heh heh.