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What Is a Patty Melt?
Best Patty Melts Ever
How do I judge a diner? How well do they make the grilled sandwich classics? Grilled cheese, Reuben's and of course Patty Melts!
What is a patty melt?
Simply speaking a patty melt is a classic grilled diner sandwich that consists of a thin patty of ground beef and melted cheese (traditionally Swiss but Cheddar or American cheeses are great too!) with grilled caramelized onions and toasted bread.
In my opinion, the best patty melts include a lean, thin patty of ground beef, plenty of caramelized onions, lots of melted cheese and perfectly grilled marble rye bread.
A patty melt sandwich should be toasty, melty and juicy. The rye bread should crunch when you bite into it!
Photo Credit: Chow.com
Patty Melt Recipe
Makes Two Patty Melts
8 ounces ground beef (I like chuck for flavor)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter
4 slices Marble Rye bread or your favorite rye
4 slices Swiss cheese
2-4 tablespoons softened butter or 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (some people think a sandwich grilled with mayonnaise has better flavor and browning)
Form the ground chuck into two thin patties and season with salt and pepper; (try to make them the same size and shape of the rye bread.)
Preheat a cast iron grill pan to medium-high heat.
Cook the burgers in olive oil or butter until well cooked on both sides. At the last minute reheat your caramelized onions to warm them throughout. Set the cooked patties and the onions aside, cover with foil and wipe down the grill pan.
Assemble your Patty Melts! Rye bread, cheese, caramelized onion, cooked patty, cheese and Rye Bread. Butter or spread mayonnaise on both sides of your sandwich.
Grill each sandwich until golden brown on each side, make sure the cheese is thoroughly melted! Slice the Patty Melt on the bias and serve with pickle spears, condiments and potato chips.
These should be made ahead of time so when you're ready to compose your Patty Melt the onions can just be reheated on the hot grill.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium hot skillet, add two thinly sliced onions. Cook over low heat until onions slowly release their natural sugars and caramelize. Don't rush this process or stir the onions before the caramelization occurs. This could take anywhere from 20-40 minutes.
Patty Melt Sauce
Make it spicy!
Traditionally a patty melt sandwich is served with ketchup on the side but some patty melt lovers like Thousand Island dressing or mustard served on the side.
Try this Spicy Thousand Island Dressing Recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (hot chile paste)
2 tablespoons Wickles (pickle relish)
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped green olives with pimientos
Whisk all ingredients together.
Cooking a patty melt
As with most recipes cooking temperature will make or break your Best Ever patty melt.
The grill should be hot enough to toast the rye bread but not too hot as to burn the buttered bread. I like using a cast iron griddle for cooking all of my melty cheese sandwiches.
Watch the temperature when you are cooking grilled sandwiches if the pan or grill is too high the bread will toast before the filling will warm and melt.
Some other diner favorites?
There are definitely some favorite diner sandwiches that you will find all over America. Some traditional diner sandwiches include:
Grilled Cheese and Tomato
Hot Ham & Cheese
What do all of these diner classics have in common? Comfort food that feature good simple ingredients expertly cooked with familiar favorites.