The sausage, egg, and cheese on a roll is one of those iconic New York foods that, unlike pizza slices, bagels, and dirty-water dogs, you only really get to know if you live here. In that way, it’s like the bodega itself. In fact, the moment I felt like I’d become a real New Yorker was the night I rolled into my bodega and the guy behind the counter finished my order for me. I go, “Sausage, egg, and cheese ...” And before I could finish, he chimes in “... salt, pepper, extra ketchup.”
The sandwich, along with its brother, the bacon, egg, and cheese, is generally known as a breakfast sandwich, even though you can order it anytime. I mostly ate it at night on the way back from going out after my shift. It helped me maintain my girlish figure. It became a daily part of my diet the way my mom’s fried rice once was. For me, combining the two wasn’t a stretch — I just swapped one carb for another. You won’t believe how good it is until you try it. My recipe is just a jumping-off point. At Talde, I use Filipino longaniza as the sausage, but any flavorful variety works. You could go Mexican with chorizo and then do Chihuahua cheese instead of American. You could use hot Italian and throw in some bell peppers with the onion and swap in provolone. The only rules are: (1) You’ve got to have hot sauce or something to cut the richness; and (2) Lord help you if you let American cheese cool. It melts like no other, but when it gets cold, it’s like silly putty.
Excerpted from the book ASIAN-AMERICAN by Dale Talde with JJ Goode. Copyright © 2015 by Dale Talde, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up chunks, until it’s cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s translucent, about 3 minutes.
Beat the eggs with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Push the sausage mixture to one side of the skillet and add the egg mixture to the other. Let the egg cook without stirring just until it begins to set around the edges, about 15 seconds.
Drag a spoon or spatula through the eggs to move them around as they cook (but don’t scramble them) for about 15 seconds more, then stir everything together and cook, stirring frequently, just until the egg has fully set. Increase the heat to high, then add the rice, cheese, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring and flipping the ingredients constantly and breaking up any rice clumps, until the rice is hot and the cheese has fully melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the scallions.
Eat immediately with the hot sauce or vinegar.