There aren’t tons of restaurant foods that, as a pretty decent home cook, I can’t make at home. Typically if I’m unable to recreate a dish at home, it’s more a matter of hard-to-come-by ingredients than anything else. However, a really great breakfast sandwich has eluded me – until now. In truth, I hadn’t given it a whole-hearted attempt before. It has long been my breakfast order of choice at any restaurant that looks to have a decent one, and I may have a history of thinking up reasons to visit said restaurants to get my fix. Now that I finally made the effort, I might be in trouble. This sandwich is crazy good. I fear my breakfast sandwich addiction will reach new heights.
So, what are the components of a really good breakfast sandwich? After sampling many (many), and now making my own, I think I’ve got a good formula figured out. First, you need good bread. No wimpy bread allowed. I like a sturdy sourdough, and since I keep some in the freezer at all times, this works out nicely. Second, cheese. Hello! Cheese is a must. I used Gouda this time but white Cheddar is another favorite of mine. Third, an over easy egg. I know some people are turned off by runny eggs but I’ve loved them since childhood. If you like a firmer yolk, cook your egg longer. Easy peasy.
And finally, what I think takes this sandwich to new heights is the use of my beloved compound herb butter for grilling the bread slices. It really gives the dish that little extra special touch. I also happen to keep the herb butter in my freezer at all times, which means as long as I have eggs and cheese, this sandwich can be a reality almost any day of the week. This could be dangerous.
Breakfast Panini with Herb Butter
Makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons compound herb butter (recipe below)
4 slices (about 2 ounces total) Gouda or white Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Take the sliced sourdough and spread both sides of each piece of bread lightly with the herb butter. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat and grill or brown the bread until golden and lightly crisped on both sides. Just before the end of cooking, add the sliced cheese to 2 slices of the bread (about 2 slices cheese on each piece of bread) and cook just until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat. Layer a handful of baby spinach leaves over the 2 slices of bread on top of the melted cheese.
Meanwhile, melt the unsalted butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Gently crack the eggs into the pan, being careful not to break the yolks, and cook until they have reached your desired level of doneness. Carefully transfer the cooked eggs from the pan to top of the bread with the cheese and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining slices of grilled bread. Serve immediately.
Compound Herb Butter
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
1/2-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well with a spoon until combined and all ingredients are evenly incorporated. To serve, pipe butter into small serving dishes with a decorative pastry tip. Alternatively, place the butter mixture onto plastic wrap, form into a log, wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. Allow butter to come to room temperature before serving so it is spreadable.
breakfast sandwich, egg sandwich, over easy egg, panini
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