Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Hi, I am Tom Popatis. We are going to do a segment today on sandwiches. The first sandwich I want to do is -- essentially its a breakfast sandwich; the ham, egg and cheese sandwich. You can use bacon, egg and cheese, you can use sausage, egg and cheese, the bases being egg and cheese. If you dont want cheese, dont put the cheese on. But, its kind of a good sandwich that I have learned to make over the years. I know my kids enjoy it. Thats how I first got started was my son, when he was little, he always said daddy, I want a cheese sandwich. Well, a cheese sandwich was like an egg and cheese sandwich or a ham, egg and cheese sandwich. So, very simply what we are going to do, were going to put our pan on our hot plate. Go to about medium high heat, and were going to coat the pan. Its a nonstick pan, but it doesnt mean that its necessarily nonstick. What I like is for my egg to kind of slide in the pan. So, what were going to do is put a little bit of butter in. Put that butter in there, let that melt. Were going to start out with an egg. Lets see, were going to give it a couple of seconds here. What I am doing here is I coat the pan real well with this butter. Butter, as far as I am concerned, this whole thing with trans fatty acids and everything with oils, I think that the body can handle butter a lot better than it can a lot of these oils. So, I tend to use a moderate amount of butter, and use it sparingly. Dont use big gobs of it, but use them enough that you can do what you need to with it. So, were letting this melt down, lets see where were at here. What I do is I just kind of let that kind of flow and coat the pan real nice. We will get most of that covered. That's pretty good. I want to get that nice and hot. So, whenever I break my egg, what's going to happen is its going to stay in place, its not going to run all over the place. The whole thing we do with this is once I break the egg, Im going to break the yolk. This particular sandwich, some people will like to use like a scrambled egg. Personally myself, I dont like to use a scrambled egg, I just basically put the egg in there, and give it a break, just like this. Lets go with it. Were going to go ahead and break the egg, put your thumbs together, pull it apart, so you dont get any shells, nice and easy, just like that. Now, what I am going to do, Im going to take my shell and just bust the yolk, just like that. That's it. Now, were going to let that start to fry up. I like to give it a little shake, we kind of make sure that things are -- there it is, if you actually see the egg here, the yolk just broke and its just kind of flowing. Our egg is starting to fry up real nice for us right now. You can see I kind of give it a little nudge in a pan. The butter helps that kind of slide around in the pan like that. Now, we got that kind of going. We give it just a couple of seconds here. Then what were going to do is were going to flip this. When I flip it, like I said, were going to put the ham on at that point. So, right now weve got that to about that point. What I want to do is get this to a point where I can just shove this in real quick, boom, up, then go right, lets go that way. There we go. Now, were going to flip that over. Alright, Im going to cut the heat back, just a touch. Were going to put our ham on. I have got a couple of slices, its just a Deli ham. Now, what I am going to do is just let that sit like that for just a couple of seconds, so that the underside of the egg can cook a little bit. Trust me, at this point this thing is going to go pretty quickly for us. So, what I am going to do, I have got a little bit of Seven Grain Bread here that I am going to use. I am going to pop this in the toaster. So, were going to toast our bread, get that going. Now, this egg is ready to be flipped, and were going to put the ham on the bottom at this point. Once we get the ham on the bottom, were going to take some good American cheese. This is good, real American cheese, not that stuff with a bunch of oil on it. Go to the Deli ham slice, good American cheese for you. Were going to put that on there. Now, at this point, Im going to cut this heat off. Were going to turn it off completely, and were just going to let that sit. The gauge on this, when that toast pops, this is ready to go. Were going to let that melt. If youre big into cheese, guess what, throw another piece on, if you like cheese, were just going to go with one at this point. You can see the cheese is starting to melt. So, were going to wait for this cheese to melt, and as soon as the cheese has done melting and our toast pops up, were going to have ourselves a nice breakfast sandwich. Our toast has popped up. At this point we are going to take -- open your bread up like this, come in underneath your ham, put it right on there like that. Im taking my pan off the burner. Just take this -- if you like you can put more butter, you can always butter this. To me, its a little much. All youre going to do is put this on here like this, just tag it down, just like that. There is your breakfast sandwich.