Start to Finish: 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
The trick to an excellent patty melt sandwich is in the details. Anyone can throw a burger together. A classic diner sandwich, the patty melt takes the concept of a burger, marries it with a cheesy, gooey topping and creates one of the best-tasting sandwiches you'll ever have. The key is to be exact in your ingredients, as the wrong fixings can take it from patty melt to something else entirely.
Thinly sliced rye bread is a key component in a patty melt. Most grocery store brands of rye are sliced thinly enough. Other sandwich breads are less dense than rye and therefore come in thicker slices.
- Sliced onions
- 1/2 pound ground hamburger meat
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
- 4 slices rye bread
- 6 slices Swiss cheese
Caramelize the onions in the skillet first, with a couple of tablespoons of butter. Get the onions to a golden color, then set them aside until you're ready to use them. The residual onion flavor and grease in the skillet will enhance the overall taste of the patty melt.
- Mix the hamburger meat with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. A well-seasoned patty is the first key to a patty melt.
- Shape the hamburger meat into very thin patties, a quarter-inch thick. Patty melts are sandwiches, not burgers, so you need thin patties.
- Place the skillet used to caramelize the onions on medium heat, with a tablespoon of butter, and add the patties to the pan. Cook the patties all the way through before removing them from the skillet.
- Butter one side of each slice of rye bread. Place a slice butter side-down on the skillet.
- Add two slices of Swiss cheese on top of the bread. Next place a patty on the cheese, then add a good-size pile of onions. Add one more slice of cheese and finish with another slice of bread, butter side-up.
- Grill until the bottom side is golden brown, using a wide spatula to press on the patty melt, making it a thinner sandwich. Think grilled cheese thickness.
- Flip and grill the other side, pressing down again to compress the sandwich. When the other side of the sandwich is golden, take it off the skillet.
- Repeat with the second sandwich and serve.
There are strong advocates for buttering the bread and others who swear mayonnaise is the best option. Experiment with both to see which one you like.