Mariel here. When I was little, an announcement of “breakfast-for-dinner” elicited unanimous cheers from me and my two bros who were certain that my mother’s fancy pants dinners were some sort of cosmic punishment for fibbing about brushing our teeth or walking McDuff. Scrambled eggs and bacon was the closest my mom got to serving us fast food; dad took us south of the border for a little Taco Bell from time to time, but for the most part, our childhood meals were plucked straight from a catering menu.
As a grownup, I now know that breakfast-for-dinner wasn’t a loving concession but a well-orchestrated cop-out. Most pre-10AM treats take a hot minute to prepare and they’re always crowd-pleasers. Show me the person who flips off Cinnamon French Toast or Apple Pie Pancakes; who thumbs her nose at Eggs Benedict or a plate piled high with Hash Browns. That person doesn’t exist…and if they do, we don’t need to meet.
For this month’s installment of Secret Recipe Club – SRC, as it’s known in the biz – I was sent to From the Bookshelf: a fantastic blog that plumbs the pages of classic cookbooks and adapts them into NYC-friendly creations. As I was perusing the site, I came across a recipe for a delightful breakfast sandwich that reworks this corner bodega favorite into something more gourmet by using pancetta in lieu of bacon, thick ciabatta bread and a zippy homemade aioli.
Inspired by From the Bookshelf‘s rendition, I decided to blow the doors off the thing and put the “dinner” back in “breakfast-for-dinner.” I topped Crispy Oven-Baked Panko Chicken with a fried egg, crackly prosciutto and a Spinach-Garlic Aioli that’ll knock your socks right out of your Tevas. If you grew up where I grew up, there used to be a local deli called Chubby’s that served something similar: the suspiciously-named “Chubber,” which was handcrafted to keep you full for hours. This won’t win any nutrition awards, but it’ll cure a hangover and slap the smirk right off your Monday blues….unless you’re a vegetarian that is. In that case, look away.
Crispy Chicken Sandwich Topped with a Fried Egg, Prosciutto and Spinach-Garlic Aioli
Ingredients for the Aioli (makes about 2/3-cup worth, which is more than you need for this):
3 cloves of garlic – stock
Pinch of salt – stock
Handful of fresh spinach – $2.50
1 egg yolk at room temp – stock
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice – stock
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil – stock
Ingredients for the Crispy Chicken:
2 thin chicken cutlets, rinsed and patted dry – $3.00
2 big pinches of salt, divided – stock
2 big pinches of pepper, divided – stock
2 big pinches of chili powder, divided – stock
½ teaspoon of honey – stock
1 egg, lightly beaten – stock
1 garlic clove, smashed or minced – stock
¼ -cup whole wheat or white flour – stock
¾-cups Panko bread crumbs (or crushed corn flakes/Wheaties/Total) – $1.89
Rest of the Ingredients:
2 eggs – stock
2 pieces of thinly sliced proscuitto – $1.50
2 soft rolls – $1.00
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $9.89
Cost per sammie: $4.94
Directions for the Aioli:
1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, garlic and salt. Pulse 5-6 times until diced. Add the yolk and lemon juice and pulse on and off until blended. Turn the food processor on, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until your aioli is thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Scoop into a small bowl and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Directions for the Crispy Chicken:
1. Sprinkle the rinsed and dried cutlets with a pinch of pepper, salt and chili powder – season it evenly. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line the bottom of the oven with tinfoil to catch crumbs. You’ll see why.
3. Grab three shallow dishes. In one dish, place the flour sprinkled with a little chili powder, pepper and salt. In another dish, pour the panko crumbs and season with a dash of salt, pepper and chili powder. In a third dish, pour in the lightly beaten egg and mix with the honey and garlic clove.
5. Dredge each cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip the cutlet in the egg and let it drip for a sec. Then roll the cutlet in the breadcrumb mixture and place the tenders on a clean plate.
6. Bake the cutlets directly on your oven rack – yep, really – for 15-18 minutes depending on thickness of the meat. If you’d rather not bake directly on your oven rack, cook on a wire rack used for baking. Either way, make sure the bottom is lined with tinfoil to catch crumbs (as I mentioned earlier). Set aside.
Directions for the Rest:
1. Place the prosciutto on a small baking sheet and bake at 450 for 7-8 minutes. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, spritz a little Pam or smear on a little butter/olive oil and fry your eggs over a medium-high flame according to how you like your yolks. I suggest slightly runny, but that’s just me. Once they’re done, remove from heat immediately.
3. To assemble your sandwich (since layering is crucial and affects what hits your tongue first), slice your roll, smear the bottom half with 1-2 Tablespoons of Aioli, then pile on the crispy chicken followed by the prosciutto, your fried egg then the top of the roll. Enjoy!