Pancetta and Heirloom Tomato Breakfast Panini

final sandwich on cutting board

I don’t eat out often, so when I do, I try to make it really worthwhile and eat at locales where the menus seem inspired and creative. Recently I came upon this little cafe in manhattan beach with just that sort of menu, and I ordered this breakfast sandwich. It was so lovely. A little bit of italy for breakfast, just my sort of thing. The sweet acidity of the tomatoes, the saltiness of the pancetta, and the richness of the scrambled egg with a bit of melted mozzarella. So good. A recipe is almost not needed; just look at the pictures and you’ll get the idea.

Chop up some ripe tomatoes, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, a little salt and pepper, some torn basil leaves, and some minced garlic (optional).

Saute the pancetta in a little olive oil until crisp

bread and egg
Toast your baguette, and wisk 2 eggs with a little salt and pepper and the cheese slices, if you like. You can add the cheese slices at any time, this is just my lazy way of doing it.

Scramble your eggs, however you like. I use some of the leftover oil from frying the pancetta and heat the pan at medium-low heat. When it foams, add the egg mixture. I use a rubber spatula to gently turn the eggs over, every 20 seconds or so. Too much movement and they loose that tender fluffiness.

build your sandwich
Now its time to build your sandwich. Spread a tablespoon or two of store bought basil pesto on your toasted baguette (I say store bought because I’m trying to not overwhelm you with steps, just take a deep breath and enjoy not having to make your own pesto :-))
Top with the pancetta, tomato-basil mixture, and finally the scrambled eggs. Press the other baguette slice on top, and cut in two. Share the other half with whoever has been particularly nice to you today, at least that’s what I do.

Bon Apetit!

Pancetta and Heirloom Tomato Breakfast Panini
3 slices Pancetta, or Bacon
1 small baguette, soft and light on the inside, a bit crusty on the outside
1 medium sized tomato, or 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
4 or so torn basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 clove garlic
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 eggs
2 slices mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

1. Chop tomatoes, mix with torn basil leaves, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Add a little minced garlic if you like, and season with salt and pepper

2. Saute Pancetta on medium heat in a little of olive oil, until crispy.

3. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with a little salt and pepper, add cheese slices.

4. Heat pan used to fry pancetta on medium low heat. You can use the leftover oil from the pancetta to coat the pan and give the eggs a nice flavor. Add egg mixture and gently scrap pan and turn over eggs every 20-30 seconds. It should take about 2-3 minutes until they’re firm. In the meantime, toast your baguette in the oven for a few minutes.

5. Build your sandwich: Spread the pesto on both bread slices. Add the pancetta, tomato mixture, and finally the scrambled eggs. Top with the other slice of bread and cut in two. Enjoy!

Vegetable Sides

Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Sage, Bacon and Spinach… need I say more!

Yea, this dish is a keeper.  Well anything that reads caramelized “blank” with bacon usually gets my attention, and keeps it … and then I make it!

This dish was originally meant to go with the brined pork chops with romesco sauce that I posted last night.  But it took me so long to finish that post that I thought to myself these potatoes need their own spotlight anyway! Being new to blogging and writing posts, I think I spend too much time being indecisive over the little details.  I’m sure with time I’ll loosen up some more and get comfortable being myself on paper (and not feel like I’m in english class trying to write that perfectly constructed essay… the nightmares still haunt me!)

So back to the recipe!  Again, a Suzanne Goin creation.  This is out of her Sunday Supers at Lucques cookbook, and its one of her more manageable recipes. There’s a lot of butter involved, which is delicious if you’re doing something special, but for every day cooking, I’ve substituted it with a bit less olive oil and it was still really delicious.

The brown butter is the first step. Take 2 sticks butter and melt over medium/low heat for 5-7 minutes, until the milk solids are golden brown. Once they start to color, they can burn quickly so keep a good eye on them those last 2 minutes.

Next, heat 1 cup of sherry in a little saucepan (on high) and reduce by half.  4-5 minutes.  Have the butter and sherry simmering away at the same time.

Next peel your sweet potatoes and chop them into roughly 1 1/2  inch chunks.  In a bowl, pour the brown butter over the sweet potatoes and toss them with brown sugar, 1 Tbsp sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, sliced sage, and minced thyme. If you substitute with dried herbs, use about half as much since the dried herbs are more potent.

In your 400 degree preheated oven, roast the potatoes for 50 minutes to an hour, tossing them around about with a metal spatula 3 times during this process so that all sides get nicely browned.  In the meantime, chop your bacon into little pieces, and fry until nicely crisp. Wash and dry your spinach, removing any long stems you might not want.

When your sweet potatoes are done, scoop them into a bowl and toss with bacon and spinach, poor some of the browned butter left in the baking pan over the top and using tongs lightly toss.  Check for seasonings, adding a bit more salt and black pepper.

Its sooooooooo good! enjoy!
prok chop final

Alternatives: This dish is still great without the bacon and spinach.  I always love to toss my quartered sweet potatoes in brown sugar, but I’ll use a few tablespoons coarse grained Dijon mustard to replace the reduced sherry.  Arugula is also great as a bed to put the potatoes on, just make sure they’ve cooled a bit because its more likely to wilt from the heat.

Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Sage, Bacon and Spinach
4 lbs garnet sweet potatoes
1 cup sherry
2 sticks unsalted butter or 8 ounces
1/3 lb bacon, cup into lardons
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sliced sage
1 Tb minced thyme leaves
1/2 lb baby spinach
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper