A pepper and egg sandwich is a sandwich made with bell pepper and scrambled egg, typically served on French bread. It is a popular staple on Fridays during Lent among Catholic Italian-Americans, particularly in Chicago, Illinois. The sandwich is believed to have been originally created by Italian immigrants to Chicago in the late 19th or early 20th century. It is frequently found in establishments that also serve another Chicago staple, the Italian beef sandwich.
- Medium Bowl
- Large Skillet
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small brown onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large green capsicum (bell pepper), thinly sliced, (See note 1)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 6 large eggs, (See note 2)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 crusty Baguette sticks, (See note 3)
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and capsicum (bell pepper); saute until tender and light golden, about 7 - 9 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set vegetables aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, egg whites, salt and pepper. Scramble in same skillet over medium heat until almost cooked, about 1 - 1½ minutes. Add vegetables back to skillet and gently mix; continue scrambling until eggs are set but not dry, about ½-1 minute more.
- Slice through the rolls and top each roll bottom with ½ of the egg mixture; cover with tops. Cut each roll in half to provide 4 sandwiches. Serve.
- The traditional pepper used in this snack recipe is called a Cubanelle. We have substituted it for a standard capsicum (bell pepper) that are readily accessible for most readers. The Cubanelle, also known as the Cuban pepper or Italian frying pepper, has a mild, sweet flavour and thin walls, which makes it ideal for quick cooking. You’ll find these imperfectly shaped peppers in a range of colours, from yellow-green to orange to red.
- Three large egg whites can be substituted for 2 of the eggs, if desired.
- Up to 4 rolls can be used depending on how much of the filling you use for each sandwich.
History of the Pepper & Egg Sandwich
Prior to the 1966 introduction of revised fasting requirements by Pope Paul VI in Paenitemini, Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. After the introduction of the new apostolic constitution, this requirement was relaxed to only cover Fridays during Lent, a 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and the Thursday before Easter Sunday. Chicago’s large Catholic population led to the popularisation of the sandwich as restaurants wanted to find a way to keep customers coming in on Fridays without needing to serve fish.
Contemporary Pepper & Egg Sandwiches
This comfort-food sandwich is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s can be made with a lot of pantry staples, perfect anytime you need a quick meal. You can really use whatever combination of vegetables you like or have on hand: capsicums (bell peppers)_ in any colour, zucchini, or squash, or add some heat by using jalapeños or serranos in place of the Cubanelle pepper, which are the traditional vegetable of choice with the eggs. The Cubanelle, also known as the Cuban pepper or Italian frying pepper, has a mild, sweet flavour and thin walls, which makes it ideal for quick cooking. You’ll find these imperfectly shaped peppers in a range of colours, from yellow-green to orange to red.