When I first moved into my current neighborhood, living down the street from Cafe Madeline was one of the things I was most excited about. A killer coffee shop and breakfast/lunch cafe, Madeline is a central meeting hub of the Ditmas Park area. They brew Toby’s Estate coffee, have an ogle-worthy pastry counter with these fluffy, several inch-tall croissants, and serve an all-day menu that runs about 80 items deep (not exaggerating); it consists of every type of breakfast sandwich and toast you can imagine, grain bowls and salads, savory oatmeals, and a ton of egg dishes.
Hoards of people pour into Madeline each weekend – everyone from hungover twenty-somethings, to young parents with babies strapped to their chests, to après-Mass church-goers. On weekdays, it is equally busy with people popping in and out for power lunch meetings, or nursing giant mugs of coffee while taking advantage of the free wifi. My roommate and I love treating ourselves to a late Madeline breakfast on Sunday mornings, and whenever Rene is in town, we always make it a point to go there.
And while it’s clearly a great place to be, spending upwards of $20 on breakfast is not exactly practical, so I wanted to share a breakfast recipe with you all that pays homage to my favorite cafe. I also figured it would be the perfect opportunity to debut my newest recipe series – The Breakfast Club. You see, I keep this huge spreadsheet where I house the editorial calendar for my blog, as well as all the random recipe ideas that constantly fire off in my head. While planning the March calendar, I noticed that like half of these recipes were ideas for breakfast (my favorite food group). At first I thought I should narrow them down, but then I figured, why not make a new series out of them instead?
This avocado tartine is bound to start your day on the right note. Piled high with fried halloumi cheese, soft-boiled eggs, crisp radishes, and crunchy seeds, it has all the flavors and textures you could want from a sophisticated breakfast sandwich. Make the dressing and cook the eggs in advance to enjoy this on weekday mornings, too. A word on halloumi cheese: in case you’re not familiar, Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese made with a mix of goat’s and sheep’s milk. Popular in Turkish and Greek cuisines, it has an unusually high melting point so it can be fried or grilled without melting, making it a flavorful topper for just about anything, especially meatless dishes that could use a little extra umami.
- ½ small shallot, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Four ¼"-thick slices of halloumi cheese
- 1 small ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 packed cups of torn Romaine or butter lettuce
- 3 medium radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 thick slices of good bread, toasted (I use a whole wheat sourdough boule)
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- In a blender, combine all ingredients from the shallot through the salt, as well as a few turns of black pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. Set aside. (Dressing will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days).
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower the eggs into the water, cover the pot with a lid, and set a timer for 6 minutes. Then drain the water and run the eggs until cold water until completely cooled, about 15 seconds. Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet. Fry the cheese until crisp and golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- In a bowl, mash the avocado with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
- In a large bowl, toss the lettuce and some of the radishes with just enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves (reserve the remaining radishes for the tartines).
- To serve the tartines, divide the avocado among the toasts. Top with fried halloumi, remaining radishes, eggs, sesame seeds and pinches of salt and pepper. Serve the salad as a side.