November 21, 2009 by sandwichcontrol
This is one of my favorite dishes ever. It goes by many names. The Bullseye Breakfast, Eggy in a Basket, Egg in the Middle, Bird’s Nest, Moon Egg, and so on. It was called a Popeye Sandwich when I was growing up. We changed it to Papa Sandwich because Papa, our grandfather, made them for us. He would pull the griddle out and fry them up by the dozen. There are a lot of us. As a child I would five or six at a time. From time to time I still do, but now that I am a little more aware of the food I eat, I know that three will fill me up well enough. For those of you unfamiliar with this dish, it is quite simple.
You cut a hole, with a biscuit cutter or even a small juice glass, in the center of a piece of bread of your choice (white bread is the thing do in the south), and fry an egg in the hole. A griddle is the best for doing this because you can cook multiple Papa Sandwiches at once, but if you don’t have a griddle, a frying pan works well, but you are limited in cooking quantity by the size of the pan. Two or three is usually all that is manageable in a frying pan for me. It is fine if you are cooking for yourself and another person, but if you’ve got an army of hungry children, I suggest you buy a griddle.
I fry it in butter. Margarine is gross. I used to use margarine and now I think it is gross. Use butter.
I use unsalted butter because I can salt and pepper to taste. The more control you have over the dish, the better.
Alright, let’s walk through this step by step.
1) Gather eggs, bread, butter, pan, biscuit cutter, and a spatula (preferably one the size of a piece of bread).
2) Melt a little of the butter in the pan over medium heat.
3) While the butter is melting cut holes in your bread using the biscuit cutter. Make sure to save the hole pieces, or “dots” as I call them, we’ll cook those last.
4) After your holes are cut and the butter is melted, place a slice of bread in the butter. I like to lay it down on one side and let the bread soak up a little butter and then flip it so that both sides are equally buttered. (For people who enjoy their eggs sunnyside up, I recommend browning the bread completely on the side that will be face up.)
5) Crack an egg in the center of your bread.
6) At this point I salt and pepper, but you can wait until the end if you don’t how much s/p you like on your Papa Sandwich.
7) When the bottom of the Papa Sandwich is cooked enough to lift it on the spatula without the egg breaking open, flip it. Or, if you like yours sunnyside up, reduce your heat and let it cook throughout.
8 ) Keep an eye on the bottom. Once again, if you can lift it without the egg breaking open, it probably ready. You can continue to fry it until the bread is toasted to your unique specifications.
9) Once the Papa Sandwiches are removed from the pan, add a little bit more butter and cook the “dots” that you saved from earlier. They make great utensils for sopping up egg. That is, if you like yours runny. I like mine runny. (Note: If you are only cooking one Papa Sandwich and there is room in the pan for your “dot”, you can cook them both at the same time.)
This morning I had three. I used a whole wheat Pepperidge Farm bread and I swiped some of Little Peddler’s Maran eggs, and of course, unsalted butter, salt and pepper.
You can also doll it up with your favorite sauces. Tabasco is great on eggs. Sometimes I will add a little Thomas Sauce. It’s for food and imagination. For the most part, I just eat them straight up. Experiment with them, have fun, eat eggs. Every once and a while I will slap a Morning Star Farms Tomato and Basil Burger and a slice of Pepper Jack in between two Papa Sandwiches and add just a touch of Sriracha. This is not a sandwich for the light of heart or the sensitive of taste buds. I call it “The Pompeii” because the egg (remember, I like mine runny) erupts and runs everywhere full of spicy goodness.
Well, I need to go take a shower. I can smell myself and that is never a good sign. Papa always used to say “If you can smell yourself, then other people have been smelling you for three days.” More soon. ~SC
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