Certain foods have strong power over us. These foods evoke memories so precious and specific that rather than simply being a meal, they act as an immediate passport to a moment in the past. This breakfast sandwich is one such food for me.
In 2012, at the age of 28, I had an experience that changed my life forever. I ate my first over-easy egg. My then-boyfriend (now husband) had been trying to convince me to eat a runny egg. My argument against it was super mature, something akin to “but it looks like it would feel like boogers” (I’m a texture person). Then one day he made me the most delicious breakfast sandwich I had ever eaten and won me over.
The sandwich has morphed over the years as I’ve tried different combinations of flavors, but the method has remained the same: bagel, cheese, meat, and an over-easy egg. The flavor combo I’m going to share today is one I got hooked on while I was on maternity leave with Maddie. It’s full of robust flavors that are sure to wake up your taste buds. You can even have it as a lunch with a small salad of mixed greens on the side.
Okay, enough of the intro. Let’s get started!
Let’s make the best breakfast sandwich ever
For this variation, I chose to use an everything bagel (since I’m gluten free, I used the Canyon Bakehouse brand), roast beef, and cheddar cheese. Other variations I’ve made include bacon and cheddar, Canadian bacon and gouda on plain bagels.
You’ll start by lightly toasting your bagel. Lightly toasting the bagel beforehand gives the breakfast sandwich a satisfying crunch that it wouldn’t have otherwise. You don’t want too much color on the bagel at first, you’ll put it in the toaster again.
Pull your bagel out of the toaster (I use a toaster oven for this) and spread a thin layer of butter on each side. Do you absolutely need the butter? No. But why not add butter? If you don’t add the butter, it will be an opportunity missed. Lay a slice of cheddar cheese on top of the buttered bagel (on both sides). Then place the bagel back inside the toaster oven to melt the cheese.
Let’s pause here for a minute. As you can see in the photos, after the initial toast, I finish making the breakfast sandwich on a foil sheet on a toaster oven pan. This just makes for easy clean up since you’ll have melty cheese after the next step.
While your bagel is toasting, warm a few thin slices of roast beef in a small skillet, just to warm it through. I just use tongs to toss it as it warms. Once the bagel slices come out of the toaster oven, covered in delicious, gooey, melty cheese, pile the roast beef on to one side of the bagel.
Make it breakfast…fry the egg!
The next step is to fry an egg. It takes some practice but once you get it down it’s pretty easy. We are lucky to have a friend who supplies us with the most wonderful farm fresh eggs. Seriously, if you’ve never had a farm fresh egg before go find yourself a farmers market and get a dozen. You won’t be sorry. These farm fresh eggs put this breakfast sandwich over the top!
To fry the egg, you’ll use the same skillet that you used for the roast beef. If you need to, add a little fat to the pan to keep the egg from sticking (even if you’re using a non-stick pan!). I use a small scoop of ghee (ghee is essentially clarified butter) for this. Heat the skillet to about medium and melt the fat.
Crack your egg and lower it gently on to the pan. If you’re worried about breaking the yolk, you can always crack the egg into a small bowl then place it into the pan from the bowl. The cooking will happen fast, so keep an eye on it. As soon as the white sets up, it’s time to flip!
Now, don’t let the fear of failure (or a busted yolk) keep you from trying! If you want to try your hand at flipping the egg just using the skillet, first check that you have enough fat in the pan. Lift the pan slightly off the heat and try to swirl the egg in the pan. If it moves around, great! You’ve got enough fat. If not, you’ll need to use a spatula to help you with the flip. Flipping an egg with the skillet does take some practice, but you can do it! I believe in you! It’s a simple flick of the wrist forward to flip the egg over.
Let the egg cook briefly on the other side (this is where a perfect over easy egg can turn into a hard egg if you’re not careful), and gently place it on top of the roast beef when it’s finished cooking.
Place the other half of the bagel on top of the egg, and there you have it! The best breakfast sandwich you’ve ever eaten! I usually allow my sandwich to set up for just a bit before I cut it, but when the knife goes through that over easy egg and breaks the yolk it’s absolute breakfast glory. Eat your breakfast sandwich one half at a time and use it to sop up the runny yolk on the plate.
Need breakfast to go? This breakfast sandwich is perfect for that! Just keep it on the foil sheet, cut in half and wrap. You’ll want the yolk to set up a little more than if you were eating at home (let’s face it, it’ll still be messy), but it will still be perfect and warm when you’re ready to eat. Warning: eating this breakfast sandwich during a morning meeting might not be the best idea. It’s messy and you’ll make all of your colleagues jealous!