Until recently, I wasn’t a fan of breakfast. Not at home, not at a restaurant and especially not at work. At work, I’ve always felt breakfast was beneath me. But now my mornings start earlier, thanks mainly in part to my daughters. And while I like plain and traditional breakfasts, they were still somewhat boring. Back in January of this year, the restaurant where I work opened for breakfast. The menu was typical standard fare, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, pancakes, French toast and lox and bagel. Things you can find on any and every hotel breakfast menu. It wasn’t fun, interesting or exciting, but that’s how I felt about breakfast.
A few weeks ago, I felt it was time for a breakfast menu change. I looked at my current menu and thought, what the hell am I supposed to do, everything I know about breakfast is already on this menu. How could I make eggs Benedict any better? I could use different bacon. I could add spinach (blech!). I could use a 60 minute slow cooked egg, but who the hell wants to wait an hour for breakfast?
At that point I decided to scrap the menu. I was going to start from scratch and I wasn’t going to let myself fall back on traditional breakfast items. This bacon and egg bruschetta was my first idea and will be on the menu when I change it next month.
Before we start, a little about Aceto Balsamico. Aceto Balsamico is not a vinegar, it is a condiment meant for adding zest to meat, cheese and seafood, cooked down from trebbiano grapes and aged in wooden casks for 12-25 years. They don’t make salad dressings out of it in Italy. It is expensive and generally not so easy to find. If you’re thinking to yourself, this dude is crazy, I’ve a 750 mL bottle in my pantry right now and it only cost me $6, then I’m sorry to say what you possess is balsamic vinegar, a cheap, commercially made imitation. If you can find and don’t mind shelling out the $50-$100 for a bottle, it definitely makes this dish better. If you’re not THAT into it, you can find balsamic syrups that would work as well.
8 eggs, room temp
8 pieces cooked bacon or pancetta
4 pieces sourdough batard or baguette, cut on a bias
1 bunch living watercress
1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom cherry tomatoes)
2 Tbs basil chiffonade
2 tspn fresh garlic, minced
4 oz olive oil
1 oz aceto balsamico
Pinch of kosher salt
1. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl with the basil, 1 tsp of the garlic, 2 oz of the olive oil, the aceto balsamico and the kosher salt. Set aside.
2. Combine the rest of the olive oil and garlic, brush the bread liberally and grill until the bread has toasted nicely.
3. To poach the eggs, bring a large sauté pan of water, about 3 inches deep, to a simmer add 1 oz of the white vinegar per quart of water. Reduce the heat until there is very little action in the pan. The vinegar will help the egg white to coagulate giving you nice, round poached eggs.
4. Crack the eggs and add gently to the water. Do not stir or agitate the water. Allow the white to form solid and remove with a slotted spoon, 3-4 minutes.
5. Set a piece of the bread on a plate, place the watercress on the bread, then the bacon, next top with a quarter of the marinated tomatoes.
6. Top with the poached eggs and garnish with a little more olive oil and aceto balsamico.