This is Britain’s version of the American cheeseburger, but it sits in country bread, instead of a bun, and has less off-the-wall toppings.
The patty melt is Great Britain’s answer to the American cheeseburger. While both are essentially sandwiches stuffed with beef and cheese, the two are fundamentally different. First, the patty melt is housed within airy slices of country bread – not a bun. Second, toppings on a patty melt – outside of the traditional cheddar and caramelized onions – are entirely unacceptable. Thanks but no thanks, flavorless beefsteak tomato and limp lettuce.
This particular patty melt is inspired by my favorite après-work destination in my Bushwick neighborhood, The Rookery. After heavy-lift weeks, my boyfriend and I head there on Fridays for drinks and patty melts. I’m not typically a big meat eater, but after a streak of difficult days, all I crave is a big hunk of juicy red meat. It must be some sort of primal instinct, the idea that I deserve to indulge in meat and alcohol after a long week of hunting and gathering (aka office work in exchange for a direct deposit).
The Rookery’s patty melt is unlike any other: it’s not greasy, and does not come with caramelized onions. Instead, it is a large round of meat (more like a burger) wedged between two slices of thick bread. It comes with chips – fried, thick-sliced potatoes – and brown sauce (HP sauce), since the bar’s staff is of British descent. To replicate this beloved sandwich, I decided to forgo caramelized onions in my recipe, too. Most patty melt recipes will tell you to swipe a bit of mayo on the outside of the sandwich before frying it, but I opted to cook mine right in that glorious beef fat. Enjoy.
Step by Step Guide to Making British Patty Melts
Cooking the Onions:
In a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of canola oil over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion with a pinch of salt and cook until softened (3-4 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Making the Patties:
In a mixing bowl, combine the beef and cooked onions. Season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well, then divide the mixture in half and form into 2 patties that match the size and shape of your bread slices.
Cooking the Patties:
Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until they are deeply caramelized (3-4 minutes per side), occasionally pressing down with a spatula. Remove patties and drain most of the fat from the skillet.
Assembling Patty Melts:
Place each cooked patty between two slices of bread with two slices of cheese. Return the sandwiches to the skillet and cook until the cheese is melted, pressing occasionally with a spatula.
Heat about 1/3 inch of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the potato slices in batches until golden brown (3-4 minutes per side). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
Making Dipping Sauce:
Mix together ketchup, mayonnaise, and hot sauce.
Serve the patty melts hot with chips, cornichons, and the special dipping sauce.
This recipe was originally published on The New Baguette.
Alexandra Shytsman is a New York-based recipe developer, food writer, and photographer, and author of The New Baguette, a blog about plant-based cooking for beginners.