You may remember me mention that bacon was formerly taboo, never found in my kitchen. Welcomed back with open arms, bacon now takes up permanent residence in my refrigerator. A food that frequently gives back in spades.
Several months ago I made this sandwich from Saveur. Bacon, asparagus, buttered toast – how could I go wrong? I blathered on for days to anyone who would listen, and many who probably weren’t. “Do you like bacon? Asparagus? Well…” I think I had it every day for a week.
It took some serious cajoling, but I finally convinced my mom to try the sandwich. She already had a bunch of young asparagus from Sendik’s, so yesterday morning we went in search of the remaining ingredients. Applewood-smoked bacon* and roll in hand, we proceeded home and set to work.
The above picture is my initial, Saveur Magazine version. Unfortunately I left my camera at home before heading off with mom, which means no picture of the following masterpiece. It is regrettable. Although my camera is probably happy I didn’t smother it with my greasy fingers.
Now if you will step outside the box with me and imagine this sandwich with two differences improvements:
1. swap whole grain bread for slices of a rustic batard roll; and
2. [from the brilliant mind of my mother] prop a fried egg atop the bacon.
Each bite is a sensory experience. The audible crunch as I break through the crispy crust of the toasted batard… the fresh, al dente burst from the blanched asparagus… the hit of smoky and peppery Nueske’s bacon, tender with the right amount of give… and the runny yoke oozing smoothly down my finger as I slowly pull the sandwich away from my mouth.
It is a sandwich eaten in the moment, a sandwich to stop time. Everything fades away while you savor every last crumb.
Bacon Asparagus Fried Egg Sandwich [serves 2]
1 large rustic batard roll, carefully sliced into four 1/4″-thick slices
16-20 thin spears of asparagus, ends snapped off
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 slices top-quality bacon [such as Nueske's], cut in half
butter or leftover bacon grease
Set a small skillet filled about halfway with salted water over medium heat. Once water is simmering, add asparagus to blanch; about 5-9 minutes, depending on the size of your asparagus and how well you’d like it cooked. Immediately remove asparagus from water and place on paper towel to dry. Set aside or place in warm oven to keep from cooling. [We wanted ours to still have some bite and took them out of the water after about 6 minutes].
Cook bacon to preferred doneness in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Remove bacon and place on paper towel to drain. In the remaining bacon grease, fry two eggs [me: very over-easy; mom: over-hard]. Season eggs with salt and pepper.
While the eggs are cooking, turn the broiler on to high. Place the batard slices on a baking sheet and pop onto the top shelf of your oven. When first side is golden brown, flip the slices and toast for a minute or so more. [Alternatively, you can put the slices into a toaster - we were afraid ours would fall apart or burn too readily. Plus we only wanted one side crispy since the outer crust of the roll was already hard.]
To assemble the sandwich: Spread room-temperature butter or drizzle extra bacon grease on the inner piece of each slice of bread. Divide asapargus spears evenly among two pieces of the toasted roll. Top each with four halves of bacon and the fried egg. Cover each with the other dressed slice of roll.
Adapted once again from this Saveur sandwich.
It’s good. Oh so good. Dreamy even.
*If you’re from Southeast Wisconsin, you know I’m talking about Nueske’s Bacon. If you’re not from the area, they deliver. [Which is what I should have done when I was living in Minneapolis!]