In my New York, the egg and cheese sandwich stands as the King of Sandwiches, dethroning traditional city staples like pastrami on rye and lox on a bagel. Delis, from humble to gourmet, slap these two simple ingredients on anything from kaiser rolls and toast to croissants and wraps. And when bagel places get in on the action, I start thinking there might not be anything better. The cheese used runs the gamut from American to fancy cheddar. And I've had the eggs prepared like omelets, scrambled, or fried. But whatever the variation, however you tweak them, Egg and Cheeses are always good, even bought from the least likely places. In fact, it's been reported that one of the best was actually made in our high school cafeteria: Lunch Lady Liz's cherished Fatty with Cheese, if that gives you any idea.
I make and serve Egg and Cheeses in some of these variations fairly regularly. Recently, inspired by the buckwheat crepes my host mother in Paris used to cook an egg in, I've been recreating the sandwich on a wrap: I just sprinkle a bit of Jarlsberg on a tortilla I've fit into my frying pan, then crack an egg or an egg white over and seal the whole thing quesadilla-style as the cheese melts and the egg cooks.
With some farmers' market spinach wilting in my fridge (sometimes I wonder if my life will ever be conditioned by anything other than the vegetables I must save from rotting into waste), I decided to tweak the fusion up just one more notch. Not just Frenchified (the crepe), or Mexican-like (quesadilla), this egg and cheese was also going to resemble a spinach pie (Greek).
In the below rendition, the egg becomes more of an ingredient in the sandwich filling than the main event, but artistic license permits that I continue to think of this bastardized sandwich as a comforting, go-to Egg and Cheese (though it's healthier than the original Fatty with Cheese) for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
--by Cara Eisenpress, of Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Spinach Pie Quesadilla
Makes one sandwich
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 small onion, finely diced
2 scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
pinch each of thyme, oregano, and cayenne
1 cup fresh spinach
1 small wrap
1 egg white
1 tablespoon strained yogurt
1-2 tablespoons feta cheese
In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the onion and scallions and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cooking a minute or two more until soft. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the spices. Mix in the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove to a bowl and cool slightly. Stir in the egg white, yogurt, and half of the feta.
Wipe out the pan, then brush it with a bit more oil or cooking spray. Over low heat, put the wrap in the pan and sprinkle the rest of the feta over one side of the wrap and see if you can't get it to melt slightly. Pour the egg-spinach mixture over the same half of the wrap, fold the other half over and cook on one side until the egg begins to firm up, 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.
Follow Big Girls, Small Kitchen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BGSK