This is a somewhat fiddly sandwich, but if you get all the bits and pieces ready for assembling, it comes together fairly straightforwardly. Besides, the fiddliness pays off: you get peppery leaves lightly coated in bacon vinaigrette, a little creamy blue cheese for interest, and a crisp-edged fried egg all clapped between two slices of bread. You could indeed just serve this as a salad on its own – this is modelled somewhat on salade lyonnaise – but do try it as a satisfyingly messy sandwich.
If you don’t like rocket leaves, you can try frisée lettuce, baby spinach, or watercress – anything with a bit of character to it to match all the flavours in the sandwich. Similarly, if you don’t like blue cheese, then you could try mature cheddar or another strong crumbly cheese. I’ve had this sandwich between split English muffins and toasted wholemeal bread; the original recipe suggests ciabatta rolls. It does need to be a fairly sturdy bread to hold everything together in a fairly tall construction. I must admit the first time I made this I couldn’t understand how I got such a huge sandwich into my mouth, but I’m quite glad I did.
Recipes: Rocket, Bacon, Blue Cheese and Fried Egg Sandwich
Yield: Makes 1 generous sandwich.
. A large handful of rocket leaves, washed and dried
. A little bit of vegetable oil
. 1 heaped tablespoon of bacon lardons, or 1 slice bacon, chopped
. 1 small shallot, finely chopped into tiny dice
. ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, smooth or wholegrain
. 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (I used cider, which was fine)
. Salt and pepper to taste
. About 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, such as Stilton
. A small knob of butter
. 1 large egg
. Two slices of bread (or any bread you like – just time the toast appropriately)
. Sriracha hot sauce (optional!)
Have the rocket leaves ready in a medium bowl.
Make the bacon vinaigrette: heat a small frying pan over a medium flame.
Put a tiny spot of oil in, then add the bacon pieces.
Fry until crisp and brown, then remove to a plate, leaving the juices behind in the pan.
Add the chopped shallots to the pan and stir until fragrant, browned, and softened – about a minute.
Then, add the vinegar – stand back as you might get a blast of hot sour steam in your face – and let it bubble for half a minute until reduced.
Take it off the heat and mix in the mustard.
Quickly pour the hot dressing over the waiting rocket leaves, along with the bacon and a seasoning of salt and pepper.
Toss well. Set aside.
If you’re using bread slices, start toasting them now while you get on with the eggs.
For the eggs: melt the butter in the same bacon pan over a medium-high heat. When it’s stopped foaming, crack in the egg, reduce the heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and leave to fry until just done. This should take about a minute or two.
While the egg is cooking, begin to assemble the sandwich: pile the rocket-bacon salad on a slice of toast. Add the blue cheese. When the egg is done, immediately put it on top of the whole thing, then close the sandwich with the other piece of toast and apply the whole thing to your face.
I'm a self-conscious dilettante with a degree in History of Art from SOAS and UCL. I've lived in Greater London all my life, interrupted only occasionally by brief trips to Thailand. The result is that I speak Thai with a Croydon accent (and sometimes Croydon with a posh accent, but that's another story).
Far from being a charming bilingual intellectual of the world who ably holds forth on every topic imaginable at dinner parties, most of what I actually say in either language is "Hello", "That's a nice painting", and "I'm hungry". My idea of a balanced diet is a bowl of Mama instant noodles in one hand and a chip buttie in the other, but I also don't mind a nice bit of duck confit or gaeng paa gai. I don't go to dinner parties, anyway.
I like looking at interesting things. Thai contemporary art, Early Modern English portraiture, and lowbrow art have so far held my attention.
I consume vast amounts of art and food, so I thought I would give something back by writing.