RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Savory French Toasted Burgers

I love Monte Cristo sandwiches; the eggy richness of the outside smoothly transitions into the warm meaty interior. Inspired by the classic French Croque Monsieur, one might argue that the patty melt, another iconic grilled sandwich, is a reworked croque on rye. Here I have a Franco-American tribute to both sandwiches, wrapping an all-American burger in French goat cheese, savory seared custard bread, peppery arugula, and a generous drizzle of luscious, gooey, Merlot-spiked mustard.

The combination is both classic and entirely new, familiar but unique. One bite and you’ll fondly remember that amazing college weekend in Quebec several years ago and the lunch that you had last week at your local diner.

Serves 
6
Ingredients 

MERLOT MUSTARD
1/4 cup grainy mustard
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Merlot
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

BACON-SHALLOT CHEVRE
6 slices bacon
4 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 stems fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
18 ounces French chevre, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

FRENCH TOAST
6 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 slices hearty white bread, often labeled Texas Toast
6 tablespoons butter, divided

PATTIES
2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

SEASONED ARUGULA
1 bunch fresh arugula, washed and dried
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

Heat a gas grill to high.

To make the mustard, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and set aside.

To make the chevre, heat a large cast-iron skillet on the grill rack. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Add the shallots and garlic to the bacon fat and sauté until soft and fragrant. Strip the leaves from the rosemary and thyme stems and mince. Crumble the cooled bacon into a bowl. Add the chevre, sauteed shallots and garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and salt and mix well. Cover and set aside until assembling the burgers.

To make the patties, gently mix all of the ingredients. Form into 6 equal patties. Keep cool until grilling.

To make the toast, place a large cast-iron skillet directly over high heat. Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a wide, shallow bowl and beat well. Dredge 2 slices of the bread in the egg mixture, carefully coating both sides. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet. When the butter begins to foam, transfer the bread slices to the skillet and cook each side until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Move the bread to a platter, blot gently with paper towels to absorb any extra butter, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat the steps to cook the remaining bread slices.

While cooking the toast, brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook until juice just begins to form on the top of the patties, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip only once and cook until pools of juice appear on the surface, the telltale medium-rare signal, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the patties to a platter to rest. 

Combine the arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, and the salt in a bowl and toss gently.

To assemble the burgers, place the patties on 6 slices of the toast. Scoop 2-ounce balls of the chevre and plop on top of each patty. Grab 1/6 of the arugula and squish it into each cheese ball like a green nest. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the mustard over the arugula, top each burger with another slice of toast, gently press the burger together, and slice in half from corner to corner. Serve immediately.