Calabrese Burger with Fresh Basil, Soft Fried Egg, and Sundried Tomato and Lemon Mayo
In St. Louis we have a wonderful area called “The Hill”. It is a small community of Italian people and Italian restaurants, deli’s, salumeria, and bakeries.
I lived there for several years and fell in love with the people and the food. Especially visiting the Salumeria. I fell in love with Calabrese Salami, wonderfully garlicky and peppery!
This burger is an homage to the wonderful people, traditions, and food of “The Hill”!
Sundried Tomato and Lemon Mayo
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pesto packed in olive oil (drain and reserve olive oil)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 3/4 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
6 thick (1/4″) slices whole milk mozzarella
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, separated for brushing on the grill rack and frying eggs
Oil from sun-dried tomatoes, for brushing on the tortas
6 tortas (Mexican sandwich rolls, halved lengthwise. Ciabatta rolls can be substituted.)
12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
6 thin slices (4 oz.) Calabrese salami, cut in strips
6 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the sundried tomato and lemon mayonnaise: Combine the sundried tomato pesto, lemon juice, lemon zest, and mayonnaise. Refrigerate until time to assemble burgers.
To make the patties: Combine the ground chuck, Italian sausage, garlic, and Parmesan. Handle the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it; mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and flatten into 6 rectangles (the size and shape of the tortas). Make an indent in the middle of the patties for even cooking. Mix together salt and pepper and distribute evenly over top and bottom of patties.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil (about 1 tablespoon). Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done (5-7 minutes on each side for medium). After you turn the patties, place a slice of mozzarella on top of each patty.
Meanwhile, lightly brush a large flame-proof skillet, (that has a lid), with oil. Place on grill and fry the salami until crispy. Drain on paper towel; set aside.
Carefully break the eggs into two bowls.
Using the same skillet, return to grill, when the skillet is hot, add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Quickly add the eggs to the skillet, using those two bowls to pour them into the skillet at the same moment. Season the eggs with salt. Cover, and cook until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny (2 to 3 minutes). Uncover the eggs, and remove from heat .
Meanwhile, brush the cut sides of the tortas lightly with tomato oil and grill until lightly toasted.
To assemble the burgers, spread the sundried tomato and lemon mayonnaise evenly over the cut sides of the bottoms and tops of the rolls. On each torta bottom, place a patty, top with 1/6 of the basil, a fried egg, 1/6 of the Calabrese salami strips, add the roll tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers.