I don't think there is anything I love more than breakfast. And I especially love making or hunting down a great breakfast sandwich. So when this month's Recipe Redux asked us to show off a sandwich creation, you can bet the gears of my breakfast brain got spinning!
When it comes to making a sandwich, I live by a couple rules:
The bread must be thick and hearty. I am very partial to a local Brooklyn bakery, She Wolf, who sells the most amazing polenta and sourdough loafs at my local farmers market. If I don't have that on hand, I choose a whole wheat or seeded variety from the bakery.
You've got to treat your sandwich like a salad. The more veggies you can pack in, the better! I challenge you to get outside the box and think past iceberg lettuce and tomato- add in crunchy cucumbers, sliced bell peppers, shredded carrots, arugula, or pickled beet slices. Sandwiches are a great way to get in that extra serving of vegetables.
Mix up your protein source. An abundance of processed deli meats and salami is known to contribute to poor heart health, namely through increasing one's blood pressure because they are loaded with salty preservatives. Instead, try grilled chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, hummus or smashed chickpeas, tuna, or smoked salmon.
Say goodbye to boring condiments. Mayo and mustard aren't the only spreads that belong on a sandwich. Try using a pesto, roasted red pepper sauce, roasted garlic puree, avocado, harissa, or chutney. For me, these MAKE the sandwich!
One thing you may have thought of as a "rule" is that a sandwich has to be stacked- one piece of bread on top, the other on the bottom- but in the recipe that follows I'm thinking outside the sandwich and going open faced, so grab your knife and fork!
Open Faced Shakshuka Sandwich- serves 1
2 slices thick whole wheat bread
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 small yellow onion, sliced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1.5 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp each- Hungarian paprika, cumin
2 eggs, poached or fried
Feta cheese and parsley for serving
Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet, add sliced pepper strips and about 1/4 cup water. Cook peppers, stirring every few minutes, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. The add olive oil and onions to pre-cooked peppers. Cook, without moving for about 6 minutes, until a bit charred. Continue stirring and cooking until onions translucent. Then add tomato sauce and spices. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Shift peppers and onion mix to the perimeter to create a space in the center of the pan. One at a time, place a slice of bread in the tomato sauce. Let tomato sauce soak in to the bread, flip, soak, and remove to a plate. Repeat with the second slice of bread. Serve two slices of soaked bread on plate, and top with cooked peppers and onions.
As the final step, fry or poach two eggs. Serve atop bread and peppers, and finish with crumbled feta and parsley.