Pennsylvania Breakfast Sandwich
Fried Egg, Fried Scrapple, Cream Cheese, Sautéed Green and Jalapeño Peppers, Martin's Potato Roll
On a recent trip to Harlem (to buy chitlins for last week's "Carolina Calamari" dish), I came across in the same supermarket freezer a package of Scrapple.
For those of you who don't know, Scrapple is a pork product originating from the Pennsylvania Dutch, and consisting of pig offal — usually scraps including some bones — that are boiled, strained, mixed with cornmeal, seasonally spiced, set to cool into loaf form, then refrigerated to be later sliced and fried to a crispy exterior and served with any variety of usually breakfast foods, depending on the region.
Of course, I didn't know al this the first time I had it as a child in my grandparents' home in Orangeburg, South Carolina; I just knew it tasted great, and and delighted my palate when mixed with grits and scrambled eggs.
Sure, not the healthiest of products — especially starting with pork — but delicious nonetheless. Common in the Carolinas, and still popular Philly (and Jersey) staple, scrapple is (un)fortunately much harder to come by here in Manhattan. Especially in the more affluent and homogenized neighborhood of Yorkville that I live in.
So I had to return to the same East Harlem supermarket to pick up the scrapple that I hadn't been able to get out of my head since last week — largely because I had imagined making a breakfast sandwich using scrapple, keeping on the Pennsylvania origin of the product.
So, to a fried egg and fried scrapple sandwich, I added Philadelphia cream cheese, Philly cheesesteak-style sautéed peppers and onions, and stacked all that In a Martin's potato roll (as Martin's headquartered out of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania themselves).
The final result was a splendidly layered handful of breakfast nostalgia. Pliant, slightly sour cream cheese complimenting the heat and citrus sweetness of the green (and jalapeño) peppers, and a savory butter-fried egg with a just-cooked-through yolk rounded with the ample seasoning of the crispy-edged scrapple that gave way to a a softer flavor bomb.
It was well worth the effort to schlep up to Harlem to get Pennsylvania-based ingredients to make me feel South Carolina homey in my shoebox of an Upper East Side apartment.
Have good food, will travel.