Thomas Keller’s “Late Night BLT with Fried Egg and Cheese”

thomas-kellers-blt-fried-egg-sandwich

I have the extraordinary ability to watch the film “Spanglish,” James L. Brooks’ 2004 tale of a Mexican immigrant mother and daughter who must cope with assimilation into a new culture, set in a wealthy family vacation home in Malibu, inhabited by a neurotic wife, her laid-back, award-winning chef husband, and their precocious children, over and over and over again. I’ll watch it on an airplane. I’ll watch it on a bus. I’ll watch it all in Spanish. I’ll watch it without subtitles. It’s not just the completely natural interest in watching Paz Vega’s expression change that every single man, woman, and child on the planet has, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. No, it’s a little throwaway scene in the middle of the movie, that helps establish Adam Sandler’s character as a chef. He makes himself a late-night snack, designed in real life by Thomas Keller; a sandwich that receives the same adoration from the camera lens as the film’s actors.

I spent the morning running through the list of sandwiches that I had yet to try in Portland. After a run of some pretty rotten sandwich luck (that didn’t even make it to the site), I wanted something amazing. I didn’t want to go to Silly’s. I didn’t want to go to Punky’s. I didn’t want to risk disappointment anywhere. I wanted a perfect sandwich. I wanted Thomas Keller’s sandwich from Spanglish, a sandwich that manages to be several great sandwiches, all at once. It’s a grilled cheese. It’s a BLT. It’s a fried egg sandwich. And it’s wonderful.

Thomas Keller’s “Late Night BLT with Fried Egg and Cheese”

Ingredients:

  • 4 thick slices of bacon
  • 2 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 2 leaves of butter lettuce
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg

Method:

  1. In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Set the Monterey Jack slices on 1 piece bread, and toast both slices of bread under the broiler until lightly browned and bubbly. Spread the slice of bread without cheese with mayonnaise, and then top with bacon, then lettuce, then tomato.
  3. Melt butter in a small nonstick pan. Add the egg and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp around the edge, about 4 minutes; the yolk should still be runny. Slide the egg onto the lettuce; close the sandwich and eat immediately.

Malcolm Bedell

Author

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the taco-centric blog "Eat More Tacos," with writing and photography credits including Serious Eats, Down East, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. His seasonal food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater, and he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

6 Comments
  1. I love that scene! And yet, I haven’t seen it in maybe four years, and if you would have asked me what sandwich he made, I would have told you that it was something altogether different. Funny how our minds play tricks on us in this way.

    Your photos look great. I’m picking up bacon tomorrow for a weekend batch of Alcatra (the best part of Bourdain’s recent visit to South Boston). Will definitely pick up some extra so I can try to replicate this!

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  2. PS: Not sure if you had moved to Portland yet, but a year or two ago there was a film series devoted to movies that are more or less about food — “Big Night,” “Babette’s Feast,” etc… Unfortunately, I missed much of the series. I’m hoping that one of these days there will be a “sequel” to this event. Maybe if they don’t feel there is another batch of worthy films, they could do a mini event where they tackle some iconic food-related scenes from various productions. Your BLT scene would qualify, I think. And the recent HBO mini-series adaptation of “Mildred Pierce” had some great food moments as well.

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  3. Again with this sandwich!!! Your picture is killing me (in a good way). I haven’t even seen the movie, but I’ve watched the Keller video about ten times. I’ll make it someday soon I hope.

    Best food movie EVER, in my humble opinion, is Tampopo.

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