I mean, how would one make a bad breakfast sandwich anyway. I’d argue that frying eggs is one of the simpler methods requiring less technique or attention than many. So short of so severely under-cooking them that they are in fact not cooked, a breakfast sandwich is going to be pretty good anyway. Burnt the toast? I’d still eat it. Under-seasoned? Pass the shakers. So why would I bother (or bother you) with a recipe and then turn around and claim that this is the best recipe of them all?
Because of tricks like this one. They (the smarty pants… smarties pants? smart pantss?? the geniuses over at Gilt Taste) brought to us a way to “fuse the cheese to the bun” allowing you to toast your bread while semi-gratinee-ing your sharp cheese and to double-cheese this sandwich without making it over-the-top greasy or oozy. Because of all the sandwiches, the ooze in this case ought to be even more about the egg yolk than the cheese. Still, this isn’t light on cheese by any means. There are two, as I mentioned…
…one for the bun, a sharp, hard cheese to form a crust on the bun and then one to melt onto a sausage patty. I used a kickass apple and fennel meat-free sausage (the best I’ve come across, really) and arugula and I can say that the substitutions worked fine. I would definitely stick with a soft bun (like a potato roll). Something crusty would be too harsh for the tender toppings and bread or toast might not hold up.
And after toasting, browning, melting and frying…
…the rest is a matter of assembling while things are hot and eating before things get soggy.
And one last tip. Make many. They go very fast–even faster than the breakfast sandwiches you used to make before you started making this one.
4505 Meats Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
Adapted from 4505 Meats, Via Gilt Taste
YS note: I used a vegan sausage so I needed to add a little more fat to the pan before frying the egg. I think many substitutions would work but I advise sticking with a soft bun.
1 soft bun, split
4 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese, divided
¼ pound breakfast sausage*
Maple syrup, to taste
1 slice Gruyere or similar cheese
1 handful peppery greens, like peppercress, watercress, or wild arugula
Butter, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Get your bun hot and cheesy: Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron griddle or pan (or use a nonstick sauté pan) over medium heat. Add the pecorino cheese in two piles, each the width of the bun, with two small pats of butter. When the cheese appears to melt, set the bun halves on top of the cheese, simultaneously toasting the bun and crisping the cheese. When the bread is golden brown and crisp, remove with a spatula and rest, cheese-side-up.
Cook sausage: Wipe off the pan with a paper towel. Sear the sausage until nicely browned on both sides and about half-cooked through. Drizzle a little maple syrup on top. “That’s when the sky opens up and the angels sing,” Ryan says. Top with Gruyere. When the sausage is cooked and the cheese is melty, remove and set on bun.
Put an egg on it: If there’s enough sausage fat to slick the pan, crack the egg and fry it until the whites are set but the yolk is runny. (If there’s not enough fat, add a pat of butter.*) Season with salt and pepper, and add it to the sandwich.
Green it: Top the egg with greens, the top bun, and go for it! As Ryan (of 4505 Meats) says, “It should be messy: The egg should be oozing, the bun’s a little flaky, the cheese is stringy and everything sticks a little bit.”
Makes 1 sandwich.