Sunday, February 19, 2012

French Toasted BLT Sandwiches with a Fried Egg, Candied Bacon, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, & Baby Arugula Salad Tossed in Mimosa Vinaigrette

Brunch is the best. I'm convinced. Especially when I'm eating this sandwich. The title is a mouth-ful, I know. But, I had to describe every thing that is going on. I bought a beautiful loaf of brioche bread yesterday, so I cut it into thick slices and let it become stale overnight. This morning, I soaked the stale brioche in a batter of eggs, heavy cream, grated parmesan, and fresh chives. Then, I fried the battered bread in lots of butter until they were golden brown and crispy. I stacked the browned fresh toast into sandwiches with the slow roasted tomatoes, candied bacon, and a baby arugula salad tossed in a homemade mimosa vinaigrette. I loved the salad, especially the mimosa vinaigrette. It was certainly unique, but provided the sandwich with some acidity, which is obviously needed with all of the other ring ingredients. The vinaigrette is composed of fresh orange juice and zest, champagne vinegar, and a few other ingredients. Finally, I covered a few slices with a pile of shredded gruyere & parmesan cheese and broiled them until nice and bubbly (similar to a French Croque Madame sandwich), and then topped them with a fried egg. These sandwiches are amazingly decadent. I mean they are obviously not your ole' regular BLT. A hint to the wise... don't try to pick these up and eat them with your hands, you won't make it. Just get a fork and a knife and go at it. You'll get so much satisfaction when you cut into these sandwich and see all the glorious layers, and mainly that runny yolk spilling over the edge!! Enjoy :)
French Toasted BLT Sandwiches with a Fried Egg, Candied Bacon, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, & Baby Arugula Salad Tossed in Mimosa Vinaigrette
Yummy Fried Egg On the Top

For the French Toasted Brioche:
3 Eggs
¾C Heavy Cream
½t Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
¼C Fresh Chives, Minced
¼C Parmesan, Freshly Grated
Brioche Bread, Cut into Thick Slices (or Challah Bread can be substituted)

For the Candied Bacon:
8 Slices of Thick Applewood Smoked Bacon
2t Light Brown Sugar (per each slice of bacon)

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes:
4 Barely Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Cut into ½inch Thick Slices
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Baby Arugula Salad & Mimosa Vinaigrette:
Fresh Baby Arugula
1 Small Orange, Zested & Juiced
2T Champagne Vinegar
½t Dijon Mustard
¼t Fresh Garlic, Minced
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2T Olive Oil
2T Honey
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the French Toasted BLT Croque Madame Sandwiches:
Prepared French Toasted Brioche Slices, Cooked & Warm
Candied Bacon Slices, Cooked
Prepared Slow Roasted Tomato Slices
Baby Arugula Tossed in Mimosa Vinaigrette
Gruyere Cheese & Fresh Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Fried Eggs, Cooked to Your Preference (I like mine with a runny yolk)

1. The Day Before: Cut the Brioche Bread (or Challah Bread) into thick slices, and then place them on a cookie sheet and let the bread become stale overnight. The next day, retrieve your stale bread slices for the French toast.
2. For the Savory French Toasted Brioche: Make the batter for the French toast by whisking together the eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and chives. Dip the slices of stale brioche into the batter, making sure they are completely coated. Soak the slices for 10-15 minutes, and then flip them over and let the other side soak for another 10-15 minutes. Melt some butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter sizzles, add the soaked bread slices and cook until golden brown & crispy, about 3-5 minutes on each side, flipping once. Transfer the cooked pieces of bread to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve.
3. For the Candied Bacon: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Sprinkle each slice of bacon with 2t of brown sugar. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway, flip the bacon over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until it is as dark as mahogany. Remove from the oven and cool the strips on a wire rack. Set them aside until ready to assemble.
4. For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and lay the slices of tomato onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the fresh rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper. Bake for 4 hours until shriveled around the edge, but still maintaining their juice. If you have leftover tomatoes, simply cover the leftovers with olive oil and place into the refrigerator.
5. For the Arugula Salad Tossed in Mimosa Vinaigrette: Place all of the ingredients (besides the arugula) into a jar and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to 1 minute to emulsify. Set the arugula & vinaigrette aside until you are ready to toss them together and assemble the sandwich (so that arugula won’t get soggy).
6. To Assemble the Sandwiches: Preheat the oven to broil and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam. Place one slice of French toasted brioche onto the pan, and then layer the bacon, slow roasted tomatoes, and another slice of French toast. Spread a thick layer of Gruyere cheese and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on the top slice. Broil the sandwich in the oven until the cheese has melted and browned slightly. Remove the sandwich from the oven and toss the arugula in the mimosa vinaigrette. Place the tossed salad in between the layers of tomatoes and top slice of French toast. Finish the sandwich with a fried egg on top and garnish with a sprinkle of salt & pepper.
7. Enjoy immediately!

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