Legend goes that this dish used to be served to cafe patrons late at night, just before they were kicked out at closing time, which may explain why the Dutch name for this dish, "uitsmijter," means "bouncer" or ''doorman'' in English. It is now a popular breakfast, brunch and lunch dish in the Netherlands.
There are plenty of variations, but the most standard one is made white bread, ham and eggs, and sometimes Dutch cheese. It's simple and super quick to make at home for your own breakfast, lunch or late-night snack, just as it was eaten by the Dutch cafe patrons of old.
Imagine yourself on the famous canals of Amsterdam or in Delft, looking at a scene that Johannes Vermeer might have painted in the 17th century, as you have a taste of the Netherlands in this authentic fried egg and ham sandwich.
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices white bread
- 2 slices shaved boiled ham
- 2 large slices cheese, preferably aged Gouda
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in a frying pan or skillet and fry the eggs.
- Once the bottoms of the eggs are set, take the pan off the heat, place a lid on the pan and allow the eggs to steam until the top has firmed up. If you prefer your eggs more thoroughly cooked, flip them over and fry until the yolk is done to your liking.
- Lightly toast the bread (optional).
- Place the slices of bread or toast on a plate.
- Top with the fried eggs, ham and cheese.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
This is the traditional Dutch recipe for this fried egg and ham sandwich. It's also an American standby, even if it goes by the less romantic name "fried egg sandwich." You can riff on this basic recipe in several ways:
- Use sharp cheddar cheese instead of Gouda.
- Add sliced avocado and substitute Monterey Jack cheese for the Gouda.
- Top the eggs and ham with cheese and put under the broiler to melt the cheese for a few minutes before completing the sandwich.
- Substitute crispy bacon for the ham.
- Use smoked rather than boiled ham.
- Serve on whole-wheat or whole-grain bread or toast.
- Spread butter or mayonnaise on the toast.
Side choices depend on which meal you are serving. For breakfast or a light brunch, serve hash brown potatoes or mixed seasonal fruit; orange, apple or cranberry juice; and hot coffee, tea, cocoa or espresso. For lunch, pair the sandwich with potato chips, french fries or potato salad and iced tea, sparkling water or a cold beer.