A Sandwich for Idalie

A Sandwich for Idalie

Believe me when I tell you that your grandchildren will be talking about this sandwich.

I put it together it one day out of necessity when I was living in my friend’s empty apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. Today I revamped it and made it more affordable – without sacrificing how delicious it is.

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Here are the four parts:Toast
Sausage
Tomato jam
Egg

The first thing you’ll want to do is make the tomato jam. Don’t get scared. It’s sooo easy. It just takes a little time to simmer down. If you haven’t had tomato jam, you’re in for a treat. When I made this sandwich the first time I used a $12 jar of it that we sold at the shop I was managing in Brooklyn. That company used heirloom tomatoes and we were shipping it from California, but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. In fact, for little more than $1.

Super Easy Tomato Jam
1 can whole peeled tomatoes (you can also use diced)
Heaping 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. coriander
Cracked black pepper

You can adjust this in all kinds of ways. Some recipes call for sautéing onions in olive oil and then adding the other ingredients. Some recipes call for fresh ginger and ground cloves. Some recipes call for lime or lemon juice. I think the tomatoes have enough acid that you don’t need the latter and let me caution against being heavy-handed with the spices or your jam will taste like curry.

Put all the ingredients in a pot. If you got the whole tomatoes, smush them around. Simmer until thick and syrupy, about 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally at first and frequently near the end.

Next steps
1. While the jam is simmering, take the sausage links out of the freezer.
2. Take that loaf of bread you bought yesterday and cut into quarters. Take one quarter and slice it lengthwise. Put the rest in the freezer.
3. If you keep your eggs in the fridge, take one out.

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The sausage
If you have Italian sausage on hand, one that’s nice and fennel-ly, that’s even better. But the sandwich is still fabulous using the Farmer John breakfast links. I only used 3 links and it was plenty. You can put them in a pan on the stove-top or under the broiler. Either way, they will create about 1-2 T. of grease which you can either use to fry your egg, lace your bread, or set aside for a later purpose. I usually keep an empty can near the stove top that I pour grease into so I have an alternative to olive oil or butter when I want one. Set cooked sausage links on a paper towel.

The egg
You can cook your egg in the pan (in the sausage grease you’re about to have) or in the oven or microwave. My favorite eggs are runny in the middle and I’ve found that the best way to control this is by soft-boiling them. Bring a pot to a boil, reduce to low heat, carefully drop in your eggs and simmer 5 minutes.

Side note: Cold eggs are more prone to cracking when they hit hot water and older eggs are easier to peel when soft- or hard-boiling them. The lesson here is: don’t be afraid of old or warm eggs. While living on the boat, when there was never room for eggs in the fridge, I started keeping my eggs at room temp – even ones that started off cold at the grocery store. I’ve never seen a recipe that calls for a cold egg and even when I was buying flats of eggs a week, I never had one go bad on me. You can always check their viability by putting them in a small glass or cup of water. If they float, toss them.

The bread
While the egg is cooking, toast your bread. You can put in a toaster or in the oven, but this technique will make even the cheapest bread taste better: I have a comal that is perfect for toasting bread on the stove top, but an iron skillet works great. Set it on medium-high heat. Smear olive oil, the above-mentioned grease or even your home-made cumin mayonnaise on the bread. Place face-down on the comal and put a heavy pot on top the bread to press it like a panini. Check it to make sure it doesn’t burn. It will toast pretty quickly.

Putting all the pieces together
Take your bread, spread tomato jam on top, add sausage and egg. C’est tout.