Why I picked this recipe: Has a short ingredient list, doesn’t take long to make, and of course, sounds delicious! My mom always buys boxed breakfast sausage, so I thought this would be a great project to stock our fridge with homemade ones. I skipped the sausage casing in the recipe and formed the mixture into patties.
What worked: Even though pork sausages are meaty as is, the addition of shrimp paste gave it an extra layer of umami. The lemongrass also adds a lovely subtle citrusy aroma you wouldn’t expect in regular sausage.
What didn’t: To my chagrin, I couldn’t find kaffir leaves, not even at my local Asian Market. I found some online, but didn’t feel like going through the extra step of ordering them. I wanted to stay true the ingredient list, but I made due with what I had. So, I substituted the kaffir leaves with lime and lemon zest. And because I forgot to buy dried chilies, I just used cayenne powder. Because of this (plus not using a motor & pestle) I’m sure the flavors are not as pronounced and developed as they should be, but for a cheat version it was delicious.
Suggested tweaks: If you don’t like the occasional hunk of fat in your sausage, skip the course grind and buy regular ground pork. I also strongly suggest frying a small piece of the sausage mixture to taste, mine needed more salt (doesn’t it always?). Lastly, if you go camping bring some frozen ones and grilled them on an open fire as suggested in the book!
~*~ Northern Thai-style Breakfast Sandwich ~*~
SERVES: 4 ⎪ LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE
Make this simple citrus-scented Thai sausage to top on pizza, mix into soup, or in my case, serve in a breakfast sandwich! Paired with Mal Qer Cael Tahq (Grilled Tomato Dip), these sausages adapted from “The Food of Northern Thailand” by Austin Bush, are easy to make, full of flavor, and require just two unique, but essential, Thai ingredients. If you own a mortar & pastel, pound and grind the aromatics first, then mix them into the meat. Be sure to use fatty ground ground pork (at least 20% fat) or you’ll end up with dry patties. If you don’t eat pork or poultry, grass-fed ground beef will work just fine, if not better (Thai-style burgers anyone?). Northern Thai cooking is often grilled over coals, imparting a lovely smokey aroma to many dishes. For your next camping trip, whip up a batch of these sausages and grill ‘em over an open fire.
Mise En Place
For the sausage:
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne or red pepper flakes
2 stalks lemongrass, outer layers and green sections removed, pale section thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, peeled and minced
5 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground pork belly, or thick-cut bacon (minced)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
zest of 3 limes
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
For the tomato relish:
15 cherry tomatoes
3 or more Thai chilies, depending on spice preference
5 green onions, white and pale green sections chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the sandwiches:
4 bagels or english muffins
4 large eggs
1. MAKE THE SAUSAGE
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Fry or microwave a tablespoon of the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Form into 2 – 4 ounce patties and place on a plate or baking sheet.
PLAN AHEAD: At this point, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for 3 months, individually wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Thaw before pan frying or grilling.
2. MAKE THE TOMATO RELISH
Place tomatoes and chilies on a baking sheet and place under the oven broiler. Broil, occasionally shaking the pan, until the tomatoes are soft, wilted, and charred. Remove from the oven and cool. Remove charred skin, if desired. Mince chilies and green onions then transfer to a bowl. Add the tomatoes and mash into a coarse, watery dip. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
3. TOAST THE BREAD
Toast bagels or English muffins in the toaster. Place each on a piece of aluminum foil and spread with butter.
4. FRY THE SAUSAGE
Cook sausage patties in a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Transfer sausage to lower bagel halves.
5. SCRAMBLE THE EGGS
In a bowl, whisk the eggs together with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium. Add butter and swirl around the pan. Once melted, pour the eggs into the skillet. Cook and stir occasionally, breaking up the curds as they form. For creamier eggs, remove pan from the heat when the eggs are almost cooked but still runny. For drier eggs, continue to stir the eggs to desired doneness. Divide them among the bagel bottoms.
ALTERNATIVE: Everyone likes their eggs a certain way. If you like them over-easy then DO IT!
6. ASSEMBLE & SERVE
Top with tomato relish and fresh cilantro. Enclose with bagel top. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm until serving.
~*~ MEATLESS VARIATION ~*~
Replace pork with tempeh, and shrimp paste with double fermented soy sauce. In Step 1, finely chop the tempeh. Add to a mixing bowl or food processor. Mix or pulse until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, form into disks, squeezing and firmly pressing together until compact. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry on both sides until browned.
Reprinted from The Food of Northern Thailand by Austin Bush. Copyright © 2018. Published by Clarkson Potter New York. All rights reserved.