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Scrambled Egg Sandwich

March 25, 2012

Egg sandwiches come in all shapes and forms. Except for the abomination served at Stewart’s, most of the Capital Region’s egg sandwiches aren’t scrambled. But we’ve talked enough about the egg and cheese sandwiches of the area, and for the most part they are wonderful.

I hearken back to my days in Philly and recall nothing but scrambled eggs cooked on a large griddle and folded into an Amoroso roll. There I used to enjoy having the roll slathered in mayonnaise and the eggs loaded up with bacon and cheese. Salt and pepper wasn’t even a question. Seriously, who cooks eggs without any seasoning by default?

Don’t answer. It’s too painful.

However, I did not grow up in the Capital Region or Philadelphia. My early childhood was spent in Brooklyn Heights before I moved to Miami at the ripe old age of seven. And the egg sandwich that was so foundational in my life did not come from a diner or a food truck. It came from our kitchen.

My mother may disagree, but I remember this being one of the things that Dad used to make. The sandwich itself isn’t remarkably special; in fact it’s quite simple. Sliced sandwich bread, topped with scrambled eggs, and crowned with a generous amount of Heinz ketchup.

What made it special wasn’t so much what the sandwich was, but it was what the sandwich did. The hot buttery eggs seemed to melt the bread.

Really, it just compressed it into a dense and slippery mass. But I still remember how that sandwich transformed dry bread into a sticky dough that would cling to the roof of my mouth. The disintegration of the bread was so intense that trying to eat a half of the sandwich was impossible. The bread couldn’t support its own weight, and the sandwich had to be cut into quarters.

But this experience was also as much about the sweet tangy ketchup as it was about anything else. The ketchup was special in a variety of ways.

First, it was used to draw some kind of figure. This was in the days before squeeze containers, so this was a slow process as we waited for the ketchup to flow through the neck of the glass bottle. Letters were popular, although occasionally we would do shapes.

Second, it provided a great contrast of temperature. I loved the feeling of hot eggs and cold ketchup in my mouth.

Finally, it made the whole thing into a slippery mess. Since I liked a lot of ketchup, sometimes even on both sides of the bread, the eggs would just slide out of the bread (which was barely holding together in the first place). Other times large, but loose curds of ketchup coated eggs would tumble out from the bread, if I didn’t have a good grip on the piece of sandwich.

This last part was actually more frustrating than enjoyable. But it was definitely memorable. At this point my father would hearken back to his childhood and recall similar sandwiches made with mayonnaise, which he claimed to be significantly more slippery.

These days you have to look hard to make a scrambled egg sandwich with ketchup a high-fructose-corn-syrup-free experience. Arnold 100% whole wheat bread and Simply Heinz ketchup make it possible. This bread is a bit heartier than what I grew up with, but I still have some tricks for making it soften with hot eggs and butter.

The trick is to not be shy with the butter in the pan. I use at least a tablespoon for up to two eggs. Then I form the scrambled eggs into a bread-shaped form. It’s a little tricky and takes some practice, but solves the problem of loose ketchup-coated curds falling out and making a mess. This also requires the scrambled eggs to be flipped with a spatula.

When the eggs are done, they go right onto an un-toasted slice of bread, and immediately covered by a corresponding slice (to capture the steam). Thanks to gravity, the slice on the bottom is getting compressed with the hot egg and butter. So when the sandwich arrives at the table, flip the sandwich, so that the pre-steamed top bread slice is on the bottom, and can have its turn to compress as well.

That last part is crazy, I know. But is it any crazier than working on your ability to draw letters and shapes with the ketchup squeeze bottle? Don’t forget to shake it well, lest the first squeeze be nothing but tomato water.

Part of me laments that I’m just enabling the whole ketchup and egg thing. I would much rather see Young Master Fussy enjoying his eggs with mayonnaise. Maybe it would lead him towards the righteous path of mustard on hot dogs. But I have to remember that he’s still just a kid, and hope that he’ll grow out of it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    March 25, 2012 10:40 am

    My childhood and still enjoyable from time to time egg sandwich was exactly like your Dad’s: white bread, toasted or not, butter, egg, ketchup–with one major difference: the egg is fried over easy with the yolk slightly broken. Awesome!

  2. Doug permalink
    March 25, 2012 11:24 am

    Egg fried over easy, cream cheese on both pieces of bread. Sometimes a thin slice of fried ham.

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