Sweet, savory, spicy and tangy – there is nothing timid about this breakfast sandwich! You’ll want to use your softest Medjool dates for this recipe. When they’re moist and tender you can mash them into a smooth, spreadable paste, which adds a rich, caramelized sweetness. It makes for a complex bite when eaten with the seared pork, salty cheddar and tangy pickled jalapeños. For the most uniform sausage patties, try shaping the ground meat with two plastic quart container lids.
- 3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and very thinly sliced (seeds discarded, if desired)
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground pork (preferable 80/20)
- 3 Tablespoons dark maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 English muffins, split
- 6 Rancho Meladuco Medjool Dates, pitted
- 3 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- 4 slices white cheddar
- 4 large eggs
In a small bowl, combine the jalapeño, vinegar, sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let sit at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until ready to serve.
In a large bowl, gently combine the pork with the maple syrup, thyme, dried sage, crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Shape the pork mixture into four thin patties, about 4-inches in diameter.
Toast your English muffins. While the muffins are toasting, in a small bowl and using a fork, mash the pitted dates into a paste. Smear a little bit of the date paste on the cut sides of each toasted English muffin.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the sausage patties and cook over moderate heat until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the patties and top each with one slice of cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted and the patties are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Arrange on top of four English muffin halves and wipe out the skillet.
In the skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Carefully crack the eggs into the skillet, spacing at least 1 inch apart, and cook over moderately-low heat until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and arrange on top of the sausage patties. Top each egg with pickled jalapeño slices, close the sandwiches and serve right away.
Recipe and photo credit: Julia Heffelfinger