I want to introduce you all to another Great American Sandwich: The Patty Melt. In case you’re not familiar with this classic, here’s what to expect: a full explosion of flavors, crispy bread and melty cheese. Don’t get carried away with the ground beef here, this is not a hamburger. The paper-thin meat patty should be a supporting character, not the main star of this production. Serve this beauty with mustard on the side, for dipping. But please, use a simple, unnaturally-yellow American mustard, the kind the hotdog vendors in New York keep in those big squeeze-bottles. I used Stonewall Kitchen‘s Ballpark Mustard which was the perfect compliment to the sweet, caramelized onions and crunchy bread. Whatever you do, please don’t pair this sandwich with some French mustard flavored with red wine and thyme, it will kill the poetry.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 pound (450 g) ground beef chuck (20% fat)
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 slices seeded rye bread
- 8 ounces (230 g) Swiss cheese (such as Emmenthal), thinly sliced
- 8 teaspoons mayonnaise
- Yellow mustard, for dipping (I used Stonewall Kitchen’s Ballpark Mustard)
Heat 2 Tbsp oil in pan over high heat and cook onions, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to minimum, add a tablespoon of water, cover, and continue cooking until deep golden brown and very soft, about 20–25 minutes. Set aside.
Gently mix beef, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, in a medium bowl. Divide into 4 thin patties, about ¼” (about 6mm) thick, and about the same size as the bread you’ll be using. You can press the patties between two sheets of parchment paper to help even them out. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook patties, until browned but still pink in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Wipe out skillet and reduce heat to medium, add 1 Tbsp butter. Top 4 slices of bread with cheese, then beef patties, caramelized onions, and more cheese. Close sandwiches and spread the top of each one with 1 tsp. mayonnaise. Place in pan, mayonnaise side down, and weight with a foil-covered heavy pan. Cook until bottom slice is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove weighted pan and spread the top of each sandwich with 1 tsp. mayonnaise. Flip and weight again. Cook until other side is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Serve hot with yellow mustard for dipping.