Monday, July 5, 2010
The world has a love affair with New Jersey. Families gather round the television to watch Snooki fall down drunk and pantyless on the Jersey Shore or to gawk at the immense height of Olivia's hairdo on Jerseylicious. Not long ago, it was the Sopranos boys eating pasta fagioli and burying bodies in the Pine Barrens. Before that even, The Boss was spreading the gospel of the workin' man from the Garden State. But the times, they are a changin'. Now, Jersey is the punchline to a joke. A not very good joke either. Yeah, yeah I get it. There's really dumb people with silly names in Jersey. Guess what, there's really dumb people everywhere. Drive 10 minutes outside of Seattle and you might as well be on the set of Jersey Shore. Hell, I don't even need to leave the city, I can walk out my apartment and instantly stumble across a ironically dressed drunken idiot on any given night.
Don't believe what you see on TV (but do believe everything you read in this blog) New Jersey is a great place. It has mountains and forest and a creepy goat/bat/demon creature that will rip your throat out and suck your blood. There's a good hockey team, exploding hotdogs, and 24 hour strip clubs. Being a Queens girl, I share a bond with Jersey. A friendly neighbor if you will. The folks from the outer boroughs of NY used to (and some still do) share the same working (wo)man class view as New Jerseyans. Yet, for some reason, to say you're from Jersey is almost shameful to a lot of people. I'd be proud to say I'm from New Jersey. One of my best friends is from Jersey. She curses like a sailor and has a weakness for big ratty hair and aside from the fact that she doesn't own very much denim and has no appreciation for Skid Row (18 and Life, you know?), she's Jersey all the way. I appreciate that. I appreciate authenticity in people. It's pretty hard to find these days.
So let's talk about something that's un-apologetically Jersey. That's right, I'm talking about the Taylor Pork Roll. It's a grayish pink sausage-esque meat product (sounds delicious already doesn't it?) that originated at from the Taylor Ham Factory in Trenton NJ. It's been made the same way since 1856. Some people call it Jersey Spam, Bon Jovi bologna, or Jersey Breakfast. What's in it? Who knows. I'm pretty sure there's pork in it. One thing that I do know that a Jersey Breakfast is delicious. I can imagine Bon Jovi sitting in his kitchen, wearing a snazy cowboy outfit, and singing to himself "...on a steel horse I ride...hmmmhhmmm...SHOT through the heart!!!" while he flips some sliced pork roll in a buttery pan. Perhaps that's the secret to his big shiny hairdo. Anyways, you take some of that pork roll, slice it, and fry it in butter. Put it in a kaiser roll, bagel or whatever bread you got. Top it with a fried egg and some American cheese. Now you got yourself a Jersey Breakfast. Your life can truly begin.
4 slices Jersey Pork Roll, about 1/4" thick
1-2 slices American cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat your broiler.
2. Slice Taylor pork roll to the thickness desired, around 1/4" is good, two or three slices per sandwich as desired. Cut notches around the edges or they'll bulge up in the middle and not fry well.
3. Slice kaiser roll ("Hard Roll" in NJ) into top and bottom halves but put it back together so it won't dry out.
4. Heat butter and fry Pork Roll until lightly browned. Don't over-fry or it'll shrink a lot and dry out badly. When done, remove from pan and set aside.
5. In the same butter, fry egg over easy. While the egg is frying set your Pork Roll slices on the lower half of the Kaiser Roll.
6. When egg is done, set it on top of the Pork Roll slices. Top with 2 slices of Cheese and slip under the broiler. Check often, the cheese should be well softened but not too runny or it'll drip right off.
7. Pull sandwich from the broiler, place the top of the Kaiser Roll on top and you're ready to serve!