make the perfect high/low breakfast sandwich
Over the summer, I went to a pop-up put on by Ignacio Mattos, Esquire’s 2017 Chef of the Year and the dude behind New York City’s Estela. My wife and I ate al fresco out of picnic baskets. I brought home a jar of the chef’s tapenade, and I wound up using a funky, salty schmear of it on a breakfast sandwich the next morning. It was great. I hope he doesn’t read this, though. See, I apologize to Ignacio for my lowbrow inclinations. Looking for a sweet contrast to the tapenade, I reached for an old standby: Heinz. And I toasted two slices of white bread. One got the Estela tapenade; the other, a squirt of supermarket ketchup. (Sue me. Actually, you won’t complain once you taste it.) As for the egg itself, I opted for a simple trick that I picked up decades ago by studying the griddle wizards at a deli on the Upper West Side. Technically speaking, the egg is neither fried nor scrambled. Instead, you whisk it briskly in a bowl with salt and pepper and then pour it into a very wide, well-buttered pan. (I often go for ghee and cast iron.) Do this over a medium-low flame so that it solidifies into a thin, crepelike omelet. Don’t touch it. Let it form. Then place two slices of white American cheese on top. As the cheese melts, use a spatula to roll up the omelet—and then cut it in half—in order to layer it onto the toast. Tapenade on top, ketchup on the bottom. Slice it. Serve it to a friend who believes that olives and ketchup don’t belong in the same room, let alone in the same sandwich. Wait for your friend to ask for seconds. —J. G.