My life revolves around food. As a chef and food blogger, it's literally all I think about. My favorite activity includes browsing new markets and specialty grocery stores. Yup, I'm that person. Most recently, I spotted a spicy eggplant and tomato condiment at an Italian market that piqued my interest. I bought the jar, spread it on a sandwich, and immediately fell in love. In fact, I was so in love that I was inspired to try to create my own. A little of this and a little of that and here we are. Try this spicy fried egg sandwich smothered with an amazing spicy vegetable sauce and you may fall in love as I did.
Spicy Fried Egg Sandwich
Spicy roasted vegetable sauce
- 6 cloves garlic unpeeled
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 roma tomatoes quartered
- 1 small eggplant
- ¼ cup olive oil divided
- 2 Calabrian chilies plus 2 tablespoon chile oil
- 4 green olives pitted
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup basil fresh
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium Vidalia onion thinly sliced
- 4 fried eggs
- 4 slices black pepper white cheddar
- 2 cups arugula fresh
- 4 ciabatta buns
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the tomatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score the flesh in a crisscross pattern with a sharp knife. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on the garlic cloves and wrap in aluminum foil. Lay the tomatoes, eggplant, wrapped garlic, and bell pepper on a sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are charred and softened.
- Transfer the bell pepper to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and peel the skin off the bell pepper. Discard the stem and seeds.
- Peel off the garlic skin and scoop out the eggplant flesh. Place the eggplant flesh, garlic, tomatoes, and bell pepper in a blender. Add the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 Calabrian chilies plus 2 tablespoon chile oil, olives, red wine vinegar, and basil and blend until smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Peel and thinly slice one medium onion. Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat and add the onions. Season them with salt and continue to cook until the onions are softened and translucent about 7-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the onions are a deep brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally. If the pan becomes too dry add 1-2 tablespoon water. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Slice 4 ciabatta buns in half. Spread the spicy roasted vegetable sauce on the bottom bun and place a slice of cheddar on top. Place the buns on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and top the cheese with a fried egg, caramelized onions, and fresh arugula. Add extra sauce if desired and top with the remaining bun. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
This spicy fried egg sandwich has fairly basic ingredients. There are fried eggs, fresh arugula, caramelized onions, cheese, and ciabatta bread; however, the spicy vegetable sauce is where the tables turn. It transforms the sandwich into something extra special.
To make the sauce, first, roast the eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and bell pepper. Roasting the vegetables allows them to caramelize and develop more flavor. Cut the eggplant in half, score the flesh, and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. This will help the flesh cook and soften.
Once the vegetables are softened, peel the skin off the bell pepper and scoop out the eggplant flesh. Blend everything together with the vinegar, Calabrian chilies, basil, and olives, and give it a final seasoning. If you want your sauce to be less spicy, add less Calabrian chilies or swap out the chile oil for extra virgin olive oil.
You can prepare the sauce the day before, in fact, it's one of those sauces that gets better overnight.
Now let's prepare the remaining sandwich toppings. Thinly slice an onion and caramelize it until it's deep brown and jammy. The trick to achieving this is to salt the onions in the beginning (yes, it will take longer but the onions will brown more evenly) and to keep the flames on medium-low. If the pan gets too dry, add a splash of water.
Fry your eggs the way you like them and get ready to assemble the sandwiches. I used ciabatta buns but brioche buns, white bread, sourdough, really any type of bread will work. I also chose black pepper white cheddar to compliment the spicy sauce but you can swap out it out for any other type of cheese.
Pile on those layers, smothering a good amount of the sauce on the bread, and dig in. I am happy to say this spicy fried egg sandwich exceeded my expectations. Everything just worked so perfectly and I have extra sauce to make more!
For more breakfast inspiration check out these breakfast tacos with charred scallion pesto!