One of the small joys I’ve found during the pandemic is visiting my local and most favorite coffee shack.
We all know what a coffee shack is — it’s the little tiny house-like-structures in parking lots, on the sides of the road, dotting nearly every corner in any Alaska town. It feels like everyone has their usual places, with their usual orders and their favorite baristas.
I don’t even drink coffee, but I love getting a warm vanilla chai as a treat to myself on chilly mornings. When I’m feeling hungry, and we’re totally out of breakfast foods, I’ll treat myself to something more.
Enter the Brekkie Bagel: an everything bagel sandwich with cheese, ham, mustard and a crepe-like egg and cauliflower thing.
I spent months trying to figure out how to describe it, but imagine a very thin, eggy crepe that’s folded in half twice and shoved into the bagel sandwich. It might sound weird, but the bite is amazing, and it adds great layers to the whole sandwich. I originally thought it was just an egg, cooked in a crepe-like way? I was determined to figure it out, so I tried making eggs a dozen different ways and couldn’t come up with a result that was even remotely similar.
Finally, my partner just asked the folks at the coffee shack what was in the sandwich. They told him it was a cauliflower and egg wrap. A product called Crepini Egg Thins is the key to the layer-ey, eggy goodness of my coffee shack, Spenard Joe’s, “Brekkie Bagel.”
I don’t have access to egg thins, but in my egg cooking experimentation, I discovered it’s not hard at all to make an amazing breakfast at home if you keep your favorite ingredients in stock. Many of my friends say they are trying to save more money in the New Year, and I think I’ve been in that boat for months now.
So, next time you go grocery shopping, pick up some bagels, some meat you enjoy, or whatever alternatives you like instead, some cheese, a favorite condiment and some eggs. I would also recommend picking up some arugula or baby spinach — it adds nice texture and freshness to the meal. We buy our bagels in bulk and put them in the chest freezer. When we’re ready for a new pack, we can put a frozen bag in the fridge to thaw, and the bagels taste just as good.
Your ideal breakfast sandwich will probably look different from mine, but this recipe is perfect for riffing on. Finding your ideal breakfast sandwich combinations is a whole journey you can take. Are you a biscuit person? A croissant person? Bagel? Maybe you’re even a wrap person. Finding your favorite elements and combining it into something delicious is a discovery you get to make.
But here’s my version of that to help you get started. This whole process, from walking into the kitchen and grabbing your ingredients, to taking the first bite, takes about 10 minutes at the most. Cooking the eggs is the longest part of assembling this breakfast. If you prepare everything prior to cooking the eggs, you’ll be good to go on time.
Some sort of bun: bagel, croissant, English muffin, biscuit or tortilla
Some greens: arugula, baby spinach or baby kale.
Some kind of cheese: Parmesan, Swiss, provolone, or whatever your favorite kind is that easily works on a sandwich (so not something overly gooey like Brie)
Some kind of meat or meat alternative: sliced ham, turkey, chicken, bacon, prosciutto, tempeh or roast beef
Some kind of condiment: mustard, aioli, jam, spiced mayo (basically an aioli)
Eggs cooked your favorite way
First get out all your ingredients.
Toast your bagel or your English muffin. If using a croissant or biscuit, maybe warm it up on a skillet with a little bit of butter — cutting it in half and placing buttered inside halfs onto the skillet to fry up.
Leave on the skillet until you reach your desired toastiness. Or don’t toast at all, that’s fine too.
Next, take out the appropriate amount of cheese, arugula and meat for your dish. Feel free to use whatever greens and cheese you have. I like Parmesan sprinkled on top of the hot egg. Have it ready to place on one of the bread halves.
Once the bread is toasty, slather on your mustard, or preferred condiment (this could be a fun aioli or jam or whatever you really love). I use homemade mustard my uncle makes for our family. It’s got a kick, and I think it’s a great addition to my bagel.
Place the rest of the sandwich makings onto your toasted bread halves in any order you prefer. I like to have the arugula or the greens in the middle of the meat, so it keeps it from falling out of the sandwich or getting too soggy from the mustard.
Next, it’s time to cook your eggs. I tried so many ways to cook eggs and didn’t really have a preference for any specific version. Scrambled, over easy, over hard eggs whipped in cream and then poured into a small buttered skillet?
Do it however you like, but I always start with a little butter in the pan, and then you pour or plop your egg in, and let it cook for a few minutes.
It really doesn’t take too long to let an egg cook, and it’s very intuitive. You know what you like best. Once the egg is ready, place it in the sandwich and assemble the two halves of bread together.
The result is your own personal “brekkie” sandwich, which will hopefully help you save money, and be sustained in the mornings.