The scene: in the 2004 romantic comedy Spanglish, John Clasky, a three-star fine-dining chef played by Adam Sandler – and modeled after Keller – comes home hungry, late at night.
The challenge, as put to Keller by Sandler himself: What, exactly, would a chef make himself to eat after work? Keller's answer: a sandwich so rich and soul-satisfying I shall forever after consider it the last word in hangover cures, the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday-afternoon ball game, exactly the right put-out for poker with the boys. Put simply, it's a BLT plus melted cheese and a fried egg – but as with all of Keller's food, God is in the details.
The Complete Recipe: BLT With Melted Cheese and a Fried Egg
• 2 slices crusty country-style bread
• Monterey Jack cheese, sliced thin
• 2 leaves crunchy lettuce, such as iceberg, romaine, or butter lettuce
• 3 slices tomato
• 4 slices applewood bacon, cooked crisp
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400; toast both slices of bread. Cover one with cheese and set in the oven to melt, approximately four minutes.
Spread mayonnaise onto one side of the other piece of bread, cover with lettuce, then set tomato slices atop the lettuce.
Fry the bacon (press often to avoid curling), then carefully layer it onto the melted cheese.
Fry an egg – without breaking the yolk – then carefully lay it on top of the bacon. Tip: Keep a layer of lettuce between bread and tomato so your sandwich doesn't turn soggy.
Slipping the egg onto the layered bacon, Keller takes care to position the yolk directly in the sandwich's middle. Then he sets the other piece of bread, complete with tomato slices and lettuce, on top. Finally, Keller slices gently through the upper piece of bread, deliberately piercing the egg yolk so that it oozes orange throughout the sandwich.
"Are you hungry?" Keller asks me.
"I kind of feel like a snack. Let's have a snack," I reply. And with that, we each pick up half of the best sandwich in the world and wolf it down.