Kitchen 208 in Charleston, South Carolina, is all about breakfast. Chef Matt Pleasants' Charleston, South Carolina, restaurant is big on local flavors and Southern charm. It's a laid back spot that takes the first meal of the day very seriously. One of the most popular items on Kitchen 208's morning menu is the Cobblestone egg sandwich, named after the brick-laden streets of Charleston. Shellacked, sugar-candied bacon is the star of the sandwich. But the monster assemblage has many strong supporting players like a fried egg, tomato, arugula and barely melted Gruyère cheese on a lemon-mayonnaise-slicked sesame-seed bun. Now that's a reason to roll out of bed.
Cobblestone Egg Sandwich
Recipe adapted from Matt Pleasants, Kitchen 208, Charleston, SC
Yield: 2 sandwiches
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
¼ cup granulated sugar
4 slices bacon
1 large egg
½ cup grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 2 lemons, zested, plus the juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large eggs
4 thin slices Gruyère cheese
2 sesame-seed buns, toasted
½ cup baby arugula
4 slices ripe tomato
1. Candy the bacon: Preheat the oven to 325°. To a shallow plate, add the sugar and lightly dredge the bacon through the sugar so both sides of each strip are evenly coated. Transfer the bacon to a rimmed baking sheet and cook until the bacon is crisp, rotating the pan midway through cooking, about 20 minutes.
2. Make the lemon mayonnaise: Crack the egg into a blender jar or food-processor bowl. With the motor running on high speed, begin adding the oil, a few drops at a time. Once the mayonnaise begins to thicken, add the rest of the oil in a slow stream. Add the vinegar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice and blend until combined.
3. Fry the eggs: In a small skillet set over low heat, melt the butter. Crack the eggs into the pan and fry until the whites are set and browning around the edges and still slightly underdone around the yolk, about 4 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the eggs over (take care not to break the yolks) and top each egg with 2 slices of the Gruyère. Cook on the other side just long enough to cook the white through, 30 seconds to 1 minute (the cheese won't be completely melted).
4. Assemble the sandwich: Add 2 slices of candied bacon (halve the strips if they are too long for the bun) to the bottom half of each sesame bun and top with a fried egg. Top each with ¼ cup arugula and 2 slices of tomato. Smear the top bun halves with some of the lemon mayonnaise, close the sandwich and serve immediately.