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patty melt

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A while ago I played around with the idea of modifying my diet by cutting back on carbohydrates. These days you will never hear me say the d-word unless I (1) mention that someone I know is on a diet or (2) am explaining to someone that if I had my way I’d happily live off a diet of good pastry and coffee.But back then it was chic to be on a diet where you cut back on something be it fat, protein or carbs.

Some carbohydrates like pasta presented a problem because I like pasta, a lot, eating sandwiches minus the bread was a little weird and really it’s not a sandwich without the bread, right? Oddly enough that wasn’t a problem with burgers. I gladly traded in the thick carb heavy bread for a knife and fork and found that I actually liked my “burger” that way. I’d construct the perfect bite by cutting off a chunk of crusty,juicy meat,adding a piece of tomato of equal size and a leaf of lettuce onto a fork and dip it all into a condiment sized ramekin filled with ketchup. Not bad,actually pretty good.

Obviously the no-carb thing didn’t last and it wasn’t long til I was back eating bowls of pasta and sandwiches on whole wheat bread.

The burger minus the bun kind of stuck with me and even when I had a burger with the bun it all seemed a bit too much.

Let me explain, I don’t eat burgers that often. Mostly during the grilling season and even then not as much as everyone else. After grilling season I eat a burger once every few months only because I or someone else in my home gets a taste for a burger and fries and if it can’t be satisfied with the fast food kind then I make them at home doing my best to make them flavorful and juicy.

If  there were times when I didn’t have buns for my burger then I’d revert to the burger of my youth; a big hunky piece of fried beef sandwiched between  two slices of too soft sandwich bread and quickly developing a soggy hole right in the center from way too much grease and ketchup.

Until I came across a patty melt I never thought a burger on sandwich bread could be good or not sloppy. I’ve never in my life had a patty melt and though it is proclaimed to be the best of diner food I’d never seen it on a diner menu. Maybe because I never get past the breakfast section of a diner menu.

My introduction to something like a patty melt was when I worked at a restaurant that served a flat thin hamburger patty fried on the griddle until crispy then chopped up,onions added to the mix,some cheese and the whole thing piled on a bun. It smelled divine and I promised myself I’d make it one day.

Last week after a quick google search I found a recipe on for a patty melt. It looked scrumptious and I thought if a patty melt was good enough to be on then it was good enough to be on my blog.

Technically not a burger because it has no bun a patty melt  is a juicy,multi-textured sandwich with elements of hot and cold all brought together on rye bread with swiss or cheddar cheese in between  and toasted on a griddle  until the cheese is melting and gooey.All these components go well together-the crusted flat,sometimes square ,burger patty and charred onions with the rye bread adding a pleasantly sour note. Oh, and that rye bread is nothing like white bread. It is sturdy and crispy from a slathering of soft butter and made crunchy from the hot grill.

So now having discovered a patty melt I get to have my burger on a “bun” and eat it too without having to bother with the problem of too much bread.

Recipe: patty melt,adapted loosely from

Note: I used good old american cheese because that’s what I like on my “burgers”. Feel free to use the cheddar or swiss cheese. Also I didn’t include it in the recipe but I added bacon to my patty melts which isn’t traditional but very good.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,to taste

canola oil

2  red onions,halved and thinly sliced

12 slices of rye bread

12 thin slices of  american cheese

8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened


Season the beef with salt and pepper. Diveide meat into six 1/4 inch thick pattys that are slightly wider and longer than the bread.

Heat a little canola oil in a heavy skillet(or cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the onions,season with salt and pepper,cook stirring occasionally,until softened and browned,about 12 minutes. transfer the onions to a bowl;wipe out  skillet. Working in 3 batches,heat a little oil in skillet over high heat. Add 2 burger patties;cook,flipping once,until well browned,about 4 minutes total. Transfer patties to plate.

Top each of 6 bread slices with some onions,a cheese slice,and a burger patty.Top each burger with another cheese slice and a piece of bread. Using a table knife,spread butter over the top and bottom of each sandwich.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in 3 batchs,cook sandwiches,flipping once,until golden brown and hot,about six minutes.

Makes 6 sandwiches


About kathyme

Some things I know for sure: Every day is a gift-be surprised and thankful for each one. Every day we are given lessons that we should learn. We are here on earth to be kind to one another. All living things deserve respect. We should not ignore cultural differences but instead be curious enough to want to explore what makes us different in order to find a common thread. I know-that which does not kill you makes you stronger. I know that knowledge makes you blossom and ignorance hinders. I know you should do what you love. I know I love life on the best days and even more on the worst. I know a meal shared can bring neighbors and nations together. Mangia Come Pensi. Translation-Eat like you think. I am not full yet. Kat

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