An egg sandwich is a sandwich with some kind of egg filling. Sliced boiled eggs or egg salad are popular options.
During World War II and prompted by meat rations, a manager for a White Castle at St. Louis introduced the first fast food egg dish with a fried egg sandwich. However, the dish was unpopular, and was abandoned as soon as the meat rations were lifted.
Types of Egg Sandwich
Beyond the basic model of fried egg between slices of bread, many common sandwiches have variations that include a fried egg in addition to bacon, sausage, cheese, black pudding, cold cuts, or as another topping to a hamburger. A popular breakfast sandwich in New Jersey consists of a fried egg, pork roll, and American cheese on a roll, often topped with salt, pepper, and ketchup. The Southern egg sandwich consists of bread, egg, cheese, and mayonnaise. A savoury/sweet variation from California is the Lawler Sandwich; it is made of a fried egg (broken yolk), bread, cheese, mayonnaise, and jam (typically raspberry).
Fried egg sandwiches
A 1910 New York Times article shows that at that time, fried egg sandwiches were the epitome of the prosaic. It describes a motion picture set where actors are rehearsing a “trick picture” (i.e. a special effects scene). The reporter, watching actors in costume killing time while awaiting their cues, says “the horrible Frankenstein smoking a pipe and discussing the weather and the political situation was odd, but it was hard to beat two deathlike phantoms eating fried egg sandwiches!”
In her memoir, food writer Gael Greene writes of a brief and casual romantic encounter with Elvis Presley. At its conclusion, he gestured toward the phone and asked “Would you mind calling room service and ordering me a fried egg sandwich?” Greene says “The fried egg sandwich—that part I remember. I cant remember how big It was, how long the sex lasted, or who was on top (probably me). But I have never forgotten the fried egg sandwich. Yes, the totemic fried egg sandwich. At that moment, it might have been clear I was born to be a restaurant critic.”
A 1905 British cookbook describes an “egg sandwich” made with sliced hard-boiled eggs, marinated in oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and garnished with minced watercress. An “egg and chutney sandwich” is made from chutney and minced hard-boiled eggs; an “egg cream” sandwich from hard-boiled eggs pounded into a smooth paste and seasoned with anchovies and mustard. A common alternative is to mash the hard-boiled egg together with mayonnaise, salt and black pepper, which is commonly referred to as an egg mayo or egg mayonnaise sandwich. Cress is often seen as the typical accompaniment to an egg sandwich.
During World War 2, a popular filling snack with British troops was an “Egg Banjo“, a sandwich of 2 thick slices of bread (buttered or with margarine where possible) enclosing a runny fried egg, accompanied by a mug of “gunfire” (hot, strong, sweetened tea with milk). The term Banjo coming from the actions taken when one bit into it. The yolk would drip down onto ones chest, and the sandwich would be held out to the side with one hand whilst the other hand would rub at the drips using the fingers. This gave the impression of playing an invisible banjo.
Egg banjos are still available in certain Commonwealth countries, such as Malaysia as street food. Egg banjos are sold by roadside burger vendors and are still rather popular.
Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe
- 6 large eggs
- 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or Greek yoghurt)
- salt and pepper
- a tiny squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 stalks celery, washed and chopped
- ½ bunch chives, chopped
- 2 small handfuls lettuce
- 8 slices of bread
- Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by 1 cm or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking. Crack and peel each egg, place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, a couple generous pinches of salt and pepper, now mash with a fork. Don't overdo it, you want the egg mixture to have some texture. If you need to add a bit more mayonnaise to moisten up the mixture a bit, add it a bit at a time.
- Stir in the celery and chives. Taste, and adjust the seasoning - adding more salt and pepper if needed.
- To assemble each egg salad sandwich: Place a bit of lettuce on a slice of bread, top with the egg salad mixture, and finish by creating a sandwich with a second piece of bread.