I don’t remember when I first tried the farm egg sandwich at the American Spoon Café but I do know that I’ve been ordering it religiously ever since. I’m not its only fan — my friend Katie likes it so much that the Café was one of the last places she stopped in Petoskey before beginning the long drive to her new home in Montana, and she’s spent every Sunday afternoon since working in her kitchen to duplicate her favorite sandwich. When I invited another friend to meet me for drinks, she suggested an egg sandwich at the Café instead. “I am officially addicted to them,” she explained helplessly, then added a few mmmm sounds for emphasis.
It seems silly that something as basic as an egg sandwich should develop such a following — seriously, a sandwich you’d choose over a glass of wine? – but the farm egg sandwich is a pretty amazing sandwich. What makes it so amazing is the Sweet Tomato Relish. I know this because, like Katie, I’ve attempted to recreate the Café’s sandwich in my own kitchen, substituting slices of fresh tomato for the Sweet Tomato Relish. It was not the same. My sandwich was a perfectly good egg sandwich, but it was hardly amazing. For that you need Sweet Tomato Relish.
American Spoon’s Sweet Tomato Relish is an American farm classic, a century-old recipe designed to preserve every last bit of the late summer harvest. It’s filled with the sorts of things farmers might gather diligently just before the first frost, bringing the last of their ripening tomatoes and peppers in from the garden and cooking them down with the onions and apples they’ve carefully stored in their root cellars. This is authentic old-timey farm fare at its finest, and it should be: the recipe comes to us straight from a farmer’s great granddaughter. Betty Renner, who has worked in our customer service department for over 25 years, first learned to make sweet tomato relish from her mother, who’d learned it from her mother, and so on, back four generations.
Today, American Spoon follows the same recipe and uses the same farm-fresh ingredients to make the deliciously sweet and savory tomato relish that Betty’s great grandmother created so many years ago. It’s a relish with transformative powers, elevating the humble egg sandwich to a drool-worthy delight. How fitting that such a special recipe be the thing that makes the farm egg sandwich so special.
Farm Egg Sandwich
2 slices smoked bacon
1 large egg
1 tsp. butter
2 slices good sourdough bread (the Café uses bread from Crooked Tree Breadworks)
1 Tbsp. prepared mayonnaise
1½ tsp. chopped fresh basil & oregano (a combination)
1 Tbsp. aged cheddar, grated
6 leaves fresh basil
1 Tbsp. American Spoon Sweet Tomato Relish
1) To fry the bacon, separate the slices and place them in a large skillet; turn the heat to medium. When the bacon begins to curl, flip it using tongs or a fork. Continue frying, flipping as necessary, until the bacon is browned to your liking. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
2) To fry the egg, place a small skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the butter and swirl it around in the pan. After another minute, once the foam has subsided, crack the egg into the skillet. Once the white loses its translucence (about 1 minute), turn the heat to low. Continue cooking until the white is completely firm, then flip the egg carefully and cook for another 30-60 seconds for an egg over medium.
3) While the egg cooks, lightly toast your bread and mix the chopped herbs with the mayonnaise, then spread the herb mayo on the bread.
4) Remove the cooked egg to the toasted bread and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Fan the basil leaves out over the egg, then garnish with Sweet Tomato Relish. Cut the sandwich in half and enjoy.