I have a little confession to make… I don’t really care for cold-cut sandwiches. Ironically, this is my go-to brown-bag lunch standard when I don’t have any leftovers to take to work. I feel like a good sandwich needs something other than a layer of meat, cheese, and mayo or mustard. It needs something extra! Hot sandwiches, on the other hand, are my secret obsession… melts in particular. From tuna melts to paninis, nothing says comfort like a good sandwich melts: crusty bread stuffed with gooey cheese and some juicy bits of the filling. and this one also gets extra sweetness from the caramelized onion slices. An ideal lunch for me would be a hot sandwich with a bowl of homemade tomato soup.
I decided to make patty melts when I made my first Caraway Rye Bread successfully. Not only that I figured that it was an ideal sandwich to highlight the bread, I had been craving a hot sandwich for our lunches on the weekends. But then, since the weather was warmer when I was preparing this and the sun was out, I actually asked my hubby if he could grill the hamburger patties on the deck, and he said, “No, that won’t be a patty melt if you grill the patties.” And he’s so right (I was so busted, since obviously, I had never made them before). Everything is cooked on the skillet together creating a perfect marriage in heaven of half grilled cheese and half hamburger.
1-1/2 lbs ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 tbsp canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
12 slices rye bread
12 thin slices cheddar, Swiss, or American cheese
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Pickles for serving (optional)
Season beef with salt and pepper. Divide the meat into six 1/4-inch thick patties that are slightly wider and longer than the bread slices. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, until softened and browned, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer the onions to a bowl; wipe out the skillet. Working in 3 batches, heat 1 tbsp of oil in the same skillet over high heat. Add 2 burger patties and cook, flipping once, until well-browned, about 4 minutes total. Repeat with remaining patties. Transfer the patties to a plate.
Top each of 6 bread slices with some of the onions, a cheese slice, and a burger patty. Top each burger with a cheese slice, and a piece of bread. Using a butter knife, spread butter over the top and bottom of each sandwich.
Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Working in 3-batches, cook the sandwiches, flipping once, until golden brown and warmed throughout, about 6 minutes. Serve pickles if you like.
Yield: 6 servings