Big Little Recipes

My Egg & Cheese Just Found a New Soulmate (& It Isn’t Bacon)

January 28, 2020

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. Psst—we don't count water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (specifically, 1/2 cup or less of olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we’re giving bacon a run for its money.


Photo by JULIA GARTLAND. PROP STYLIST: AMANDA WIDIS. FOOD STYLIST: SAMANTHA SENEVIRATNE.

There are countless ways to assemble an American breakfast sandwich, but the template usually goes something like this: bread, eggs, cheese, meat. Maybe the bread is a kaiser roll, bagel, or biscuit. The eggs scrambled, fried, or frittata-ed. The cheese American, cheddar, or gouda. But the meat is where it gets really opinionated.

Take, for instance, this New York Times headline from a few years back: “Don’t mess with my bacon, egg, and cheese,” wrote restaurant critic Pete Wells. To him, the BEC is “the classic and possibly highest formulation” of a breakfast sandwich. And I understand how strongly people feel about bacon (largely thanks to this deep-dive, with 500 comments and counting).

But I’m here to mess with it anyway.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I have discovered a way to make a very delicious GF egg sandwich. I fry it in coconut oil& a few kale leaves, a lot of fresh ground pepper, salt and a lot of turmeric. I have a salt shaker of turmeric That I shake all over the egg. I get it crispy on the edges a bit loose in the center, put it in between my gluten free Lundberg rice cakes and have a yummy breakfast. The crispy kale gets salty & spicy w the salt pepper & turmeric. It sort of mimics crispy bacon. Sometimes I put cheese on it too. Try it - I love it! I’ll give broccoli a shot. Sounds good to me.”
— Anne
Comment

The good news is you can still call this Big Little Recipe a BEC. The fine print is the ‘B’ no longer stands for bacon. It stands for broccoli.

I first stumbled upon this idea at Gertie, a sunny Brooklyn restaurant with griddled muffins, tahini-ranch salads, cauliflower Parm, and other things I want to eat right now. But more than anything else, what I can’t stop thinking about is their take on breakfast sandwiches: egg and cheese on a bialy or English muffin, with “heritage bacon” or “seasonal veggies.”

Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.

Talk about a newfangled way to eat less meat. This is one of my resolutions for 2020, as it has been for the past several years. Because it makes me feel better. And, in a small way, it makes the planet feel better.

But maybe you’re still raising your eyebrows at bacon versus broccoli. Which, from a distance, may seem like pitting the Yankees against a high school baseball team and calling it a fair fight. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Obviously, broccoli isn’t porky or smoky or even fatty, but when rubbed with olive oil, showered with salt and pepper, and roasted at a blistering temperature, it too is highly craveable—with crunchy-fried florets, buttery-tender stalks, and a happy-go-lucky color.

The rest of the sandwich is up to you. I’m partial to chewy English muffins, sharp cheddar, and yolky eggs that ooze all over my wrists. But perhaps you’re more about an everything bagel, American cheese, and over-hard eggs. Or seven-grain toast, provolone, and a folded omelet. And if you want to add hot sauce or chile paste or pickled peppers on top? You should. Go for it—mix and match to your heart’s content. Just don’t mess with my broccoli.

Tags:

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • adambravo
    adambravo
  • Jenny
    Jenny
  • Aja Aktay
    Aja Aktay
  • Karen
    Karen
  • Bigpoppi
    Bigpoppi
Comment
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.

21 Comments

adambravo February 15, 2020
While the roasted broccoli sounds potentially tasty, it is not an alternative to bacon. It is simply a different choice for different tastes. I would be curious to try one of the shiitake bacon recipes in a BEC...
 
Jenny February 15, 2020
I have been doing egg and cheese with wilted spring greens/spinach. Broccoli sounds like a delish alternative, but cooking for one means I want something with less prep. Recently saw a Ming Tsai show where broccoli was incorporated into dishes by grating and a quick stir fry. I bet that would work.
 
Aja A. February 15, 2020
I love this!! I try to incorporate broccoli in almost every dish and Im comforted to see I'm not alone. I made a similar dish for breakfast this morning but did it in a bowl. Slow scrambled eggs with roasted broccoli, topped with raw avocado and a couple of sprinkles of scallions. My broc-egg & avo breakfast bowl was yum yum yum! And I felt full and energized after. Will try over an english muffin next.
 
Karen February 15, 2020
Nope
 
Bigpoppi February 14, 2020
What apparently everybody misses is that you don’t eat bacon every goddamn day so you have it once a week once a month what’s the big deal , and broccoli does not taste like bacon
 
Mamabakes February 14, 2020
I think it's wonderful that Food52 inspires us to consider something different and the heartfelt reactions we have to change. Idk if I'm up to the new BEC, I'm still enjoying my coffee and tart for breakfast, of course the crust is the olive oil pie crust recipe from Food52. Took me awhile to try THAT and I love it. Baby steps....
 
Donna D. February 14, 2020
I like mine with sautéed spinach, Canadian bacon, poached egg, and creamed mushrooms on an English muffin.
 
janet February 14, 2020
Would love the broccoli but drench it in brown butter first.
 
Francesca S. February 14, 2020
I love this!!! I often eat my eggs with quickly sear julienned zucchini on a crispy slice of cauliflower..
 
cookbookchick February 14, 2020
Way better than roasted broccoli, IMHO, would be luscious and garlicky Broccoli Cooked Forever: https://food52.com/recipes/15632-roy-finamore-s-broccoli-cooked-forever
 
Gillie February 14, 2020
Thinking more on this subject about helping the planet, how is buying fresh broccoli, which is flown at the closest the west coast. Don’t eat meat if you want, but eating out of season produce that travels thousands of miles doing the planet any favor.
 
Ruth February 14, 2020
Speak for yourself. Beautiful fresh broccoli grows less than 10 miles from me and thousands of my fellow citizens.
 
Gillie February 14, 2020
I adore broccoli, it is one of my favorite vegetables. But there are a few places I don’t want to see it. On a pizza or in any sandwich. A side of broccoli, yes please! Broccoli salad, oh hellz yeah.
 
Anne February 2, 2020
I have discovered a way to make a very delicious GF egg sandwich. I fry it in coconut oil& a few kale leaves, a lot of fresh ground pepper, salt and a lot of turmeric. I have a salt shaker of turmeric That I shake all over the egg. I get it crispy on the edges a bit loose in the center, put it in between my gluten free Lundberg rice cakes and have a yummy breakfast. The crispy kale gets salty & spicy w the salt pepper & turmeric. It sort of mimics crispy bacon. Sometimes I put cheese on it too. Try it - I love it! I’ll give broccoli a shot. Sounds good to me.
 
Anita104 February 14, 2020
If you're trying to eat healthy, rice cakes are hardly the way. They are a highly processed food.
 
Anne February 14, 2020
I think Lundbergh organic are awesome, tasty and were recommended by Dr. when I was not allowed gluten, sugar or processed foods. It’s basically puffed organic wild rice,organic brown rice & salt. Stuck together & baked. How can that be to unhealthy? Perhaps you know something I don’t.
 
peg February 1, 2020
I love this with spinach, kale & mushrooms with the egg & cheese.
 
2tattered February 1, 2020
Breakfast bacon, yes! Breakfast broccoli - no fkg way, sister👿 Have at it, alone.
 
Marti C. February 14, 2020
I'm with 2tattered!
 
Sharon R. February 14, 2020
What happened to avocado? I thought for sure that was going to be the meat replacement. It seems to me that it would go way better than broccoli. Too obvious?
 
MarSueTo February 14, 2020
I agree, I like broccoli, but not for breakfast, I don’t eat vegetables for breakfast! Yuck!