"Breakfast is by far the best and most important meal of the day. A BLT is a near-perfect breakfast sandwich. Add an egg and you have, in my opinion, a perfect sandwich. Now people have started making breakfast burgers, topped with bacon and an egg, which is another great meal in my book! But, what if you combine the two?! A BLT&E."
— Christopher Lucchese, Echo Park
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Note: From Christopher Lucchese of Echo Park. Ask your butcher to grind the rib-eye for you if you do not have a grinder at home. Quail eggs can be found at select gourmet and well-stocked markets.
1 pound ground rib-eye steak
1 pound fresh pork breakfast sausage, casings removed
10 strips bacon, fried, crumbled and fat reserved
1 cup diced cherry or small tomatoes, preferably a blend such as Sweet 100 and/or green grape
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon beef broth
1 cup beer, such as a good lager
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon celery salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons crushed sourdough bread crumbs
6 quail eggs
6 split and buttered English muffins
5 to 6 cups arugula, from 1 (5-ounce) bag or container, or as desired
1. In a large bowl, combine the ground rib-eye and sausage with the crumbled bacon and diced tomatoes. Add the maple syrup, beef broth, beer, ketchup and egg, along with the reserved bacon fat. Mix gently, so as not to overwork the meat. Add the pepper, salt, paprika, oregano, crushed red pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, celery salt, cayenne pepper and bread crumbs, mixing gently until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover the mixture and rest it in the refrigerator.
2. In a large pan of gently simmering water, poach the quail eggs, careful not to break the yolks or overcook. Drain and set aside to cool.
3. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and divide it into 12 even portions. Form each portion into a small round patty, adding an indentation to the center of 6 patties for the poached quail eggs to nest.
4. Place a poached egg in each of the 6 indented patties, then place another patty over it to form the top, gently crimping the edges together so as not to crush the egg and break the yolk. Repeat to form 6 stuffed patties.
5. Prepare the grill. Place the burgers, top-side down, on the grill. Cook 7 to 10 minutes. then gently flip. Cook the other side 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to rest.
6. While the burgers are resting, toast the muffin halves. When toasted, remove from heat and set aside to cool a minute.
7. To assemble the burgers, place a handful of arugula on the toasted bottoms of the 6 muffins. Place a burger on top of each mound, bottom-side down. Top each burger with the other toasted muffin half. If preferred, slice in half before serving, or simply eat whole. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 767 calories; 39 grams protein; 38 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 50 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 231 mg cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 2,216 mg sodium.