This classic New Jersey egg sandwich oozes with runny yolk, gooey cheese and is topped salty pork roll.
Do you know the hardest question I’ve ever been asked? It’s “Where are you from?” Seriously. And I never know how to answer. I’m coming up on my 12 year anniversary in the Garden State, my two boys are born and bred here and I can’t seem to spit out the words ‘New Jersey” when asked this very basic question. So maybe I’m not technically “from” New Jersey. I was raised in upstate New York and came to New Jersey by way of New York City, but this is where we’ve planted our roots. So when someone casually asks the question, do they want to know where I was born or where do I call home today?
I’m guessing the latter. So if I know what they’re asking me, why can’t I answer? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s something I’ve come to terms with and am working to overcome. It’s the Jersey stigma. You say New Jersey to someone (who doesn’t live here) and they take a step back, crinkle their nose and completely reevaluate you. See, Jersey gets a bad rap. Most people that haven’t spent a lot of time here envision the opening to the Sopranos, big hair, a lot of attitude and a bad accent. They haven’t spent any time at the gorgeous Jersey shore, driven around the historic neighborhoods with unique homes on pretty streets or explored the parks or reservations. So, I’ve decided it’s time to own it. To teach my boys to have some state pride and wear their Jersey heritage like a badge of honor.
And we’re starting with breakfast. I don’t think anyone would argue that New Jersey is the culinary mecca of the world, but there are a few iconic foods that really stand out. And one of them is the pork roll (aka Taylor ham). Whatever you call it, and it’s widely debated, pork roll is a processed pork product that’s been cured. It’s packaged in (you guessed it) a roll and the slices are seared (like bacon) before serving. To get a nice even cook, you cut slits or even a little wedge in each slice to prevent curling.
I think the perfect home for these crispy, slices of porky goodness is in a classic egg and cheese sandwich. If you’ve ever lived in the tri-state area you KNOW how seriously we take our egg sandwiches. It’s got to be on a soft roll with a couple eggs topped with american cheese. I prefer fried eggs that get a quick flip in the plan and maintain a slightly runny yolk, but there’s a strong case to made for the folded scrambled egg, which is probably the standard. Throw in some bacon, sausage or pork roll and you’ve got yourself the breakfast of champions, especially after a long night out.
This weekend I’ll be celebrating my adopted state in a big way. Not only will we be breakfasting on these bad boys, we’ll be seeing the Boss himself in concert. I mean, no proper New Jerseyan can go to the grave without seeing Bruce Springsteen live at least once. We may even cue up a little Bon Jovi for the ride to the show. Because that’s how we Jersey folk do it.
- 2 soft rolls
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 eggs
- 4 slices American cheese
- 4 slices pork roll Taylor ham
- salt and pepper
Make four small slits on each slice of the pork roll.
Cook the pork roll slices over med/high heat in a non-stick skillet for 6-8 minutes or until browned.
Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a small non-stick skillet and add two cracked eggs, being careful not to break the yolks.
Cook until the whites are almost set and carefully flip, then top with two slices of american cheese and cook another minute or so. Repeat with remaining eggs and cheese.
To serve, slice the roll in half and places two slices of pork roll, two eggs and cheese on one half. Season with salt and pepper and top with remaining half.