The “Morning” section of Spoonful’s Winter issue opens with “The Breakfast Club,” an exploration of hyper-local breakfasts that reflect the culinary identities of of three different regions. This piece by Christine Sherman about decadent waffle egg sandwiches is set in Haddon Township, NJ.
I had been dreaming of waffles, literally, for weeks. In one dream, I ordered waffles from a diner, only to have them served to me topped with salsa! No, no, no. But even while it seemed wrong as I blinked my waffle-less eyes open, I thought that my dream could perhaps be an inspiration. Why not a savory waffle? Or, even better, two savory, slightly spicy, crispy waffles as a vehicle for a breakfast sandwich?
Before I could entertain waffle dreams of any kind, I would have to venture out for supplies, a good way to acclimate to the impending cold weather and socialize before hibernation. I swung my feet out of bed and bundled up against the November chill.
I rode the speedline train from my home in Haddon Township into Philadelphia to make a stop at DiBruno Brothers, my beloved emporium for an international array of edibles. Though it would be easy to spend hours perusing the cured meats and the cheeses from all over the world, today I’m focused. I scan the selection for the perfect addition to the waffle breakfast sandwich of my dreams. I spotted it in the case: 1732 Meats’ locally-cured bacon, beautifully seasoned with black pepper.
Tucking my bounty into my bag, I re-wrapped my scarf and headed south. My destination? The home of my sister, Jen. There, she gifted me with two fresh, coconut-sized winter squashes, a find
in her recent farm share from a local CSA.
Back across the river in New Jersey, before returning to the warmth of home, I pay a visit to Gwenne Baile, a friend who happens to be a driving force in bringing backyard chickens to my town. She generously offers me fresh eggs straight from her hen house, the final touch for my sandwiches.
Finally home, I shake off the cold and set my oven and my waffle iron to heat. I roast the squash in the oven as I cook off the bacon on a sheet pan, a two-for-one strategy that also warms my house and emits enticing aromas. Once the savory, cheesy waffles are complete, I assemble the sandwiches, adding the crispy bacon and over-easy fried eggs, eggs from hens that live just four blocks from my home. It might have been a circuitous way to go about breakfast, but this hot waffle sandwich on a cold morning is, literally, a dream come true.
Breakfast Waffle Egg Sandwiches
Serves 4 (Using a double regular waffle iron, makes 2 at a time)
Recipe by Christine Sherman
Total Cooking Time: 60 minutes, 45 minutes if using canned pumpkin
Active Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- 1 small to medium winter squash or 1 cup canned winter squash puree (pumpkin, acorn, butternut etc.)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup white flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
- 1 cup milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of Chinese five spice or pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons whole flax seeds (optional)
- Dash of salt
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar (optional)
For Sandwich Assembly
- 1 pound bacon
- 4 eggs
- Waffle iron
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes or until the flesh is fork tender. Allow to cool before peeling away skin and pureeing in food processor or food mill. Set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Add the egg yolks, milk, melted butter and squash puree and mix. In separate bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy, add to waffle batter and mix again. Add cheese to the batter just before spooning into the waffle iron.
Drop batter in hot waffle iron. Makes eight waffles, for a total of four sandwiches.
Cook bacon and eggs to your preference for sandwich assembly. To assemble sandwiches, place the bacon on top of the waffle, then the egg on top of the bacon and top off with another waffle.
Photos by Nick Gang