It may be fall and you may have had this New York staple before but rediscover the Egg on a Roll with Gabrielle Hamilton’s story.

eggonaroll

It’s a very hot New York summer in that very old school way where there aren’t air conditioners. The screens in the windows are covered with grit. Gabrielle Hamilton is living practically on the west side highway and there is a lot of heavy commercial traffic going in and out of the Lincoln Tunnel. Prostitutes are working the tunnel and the avenue too. The first time she saw it, her mind was blown. There’s a guy alone in a Buick, polo shirt, creased khaki pant kind of business dude. And at the traffic light, up she pops and the door opens and out she gets. Gabrielle was just like, whoa. Even though she felt very jaded and was smoking and so cool, she was only 16. And it was very different in New York at the time. It was a very much hang out on the side of the highway and wave and wear nothing. The prostitutes would get coffee and water and orangeade and they would sit on the stoop. Gabrielle would arrive to the stoop with her egg on a roll and her New York Times and the ladies would lay out the baby wipe or a coffee napkin for their bare asses to sit on. These ladies were very comfortable and convivial and sweet actually. They were solicitous and almost maternal, not wanting to be in the way or cause any trouble. And Gabrielle just sat with them, and she was hell bent on acting like she knew what was happening. The sandwich was often the biggest meal of her day. She would take it wrapped in aluminum foil and go sit on her stoop in the sweltering summer heat hanging out with the prostitutes. As a result, she was introduced to the fantastic egg on a roll, a really tasty thing to eat.

eggonaroll
EGGS ON A ROLL, NYC DELI STYLE

 Ingredients

 1 Kaiser roll, halved horizontally
4 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sweet butter
2 eggs
1 ounce slice extra-sharp Cabot Vermont white cheddar cheese
2 slices cooked bacon
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Toast each cut side of the roll until hot and crispy.
  1. Butter each side of toasted roll with 2 Tablespoon sweet butter, using all 4 Tablespoons butter wall to wall.
  1. Heat 1 small nut of butter in a nonstick pan over medium high heat and when foamy, cracked eggs into it.
  1. Cook eggs over easy, taking care not to break the yolks when you flip.
  1. Remove pan for flame, drape cheese slice and bacon strips on top, and pass under salamander for 20 seconds to melt the cheese and bring the bacon to life.
  1. Season assertively with salt and pepper and slip into buttered Kaiser roll.

Order Kaiser rolls from Tom Cat and on days when we don’t have a big enough order to meet their minimum, hand- shop from 1st Avenue Deli. Please do not try to improve or gourmet-up this item with homemade rolls or rolls from Whole Foods.

Reprinted with permission from Prune.