New Jersey is home of the diner. Every town has a diner and many even have two. With menus containing 10 or more pages and endless dining options, there is hardly an entree, salad, breakfast item or dessert that is not offered. Have a taste for Peking duck at 2 am on a Tuesday? No problem. How about chocolate chip banana pancakes topped with whipped cream for dinner? Order up. They are available 24 hours a day. Have a hankering for a slice of key lime pie with merguine a mile high? The local New Jersey diner has key lime pie as well as apple cobbler, strawberry topped cheese cake, German chocolate cake and peanut butter pie too.
My Middle One is a burger aficionado and will order a burger for breakfast while the rest of the family is eating fluffy pancakes, eggs over easy with crispy hash browns and overstuffed omelets. In my December 2010 issue of Everyday Food, I spotted a recipe for a patty melt (a burger that is offered at every diner) and knew I had to make it for my daughter.
The patty melt is a diner staple. A thin burger is sandwiched between slices of bread along with caramelized onions and cheese and grilled in a saute pan just like a grilled cheese sandwich. This was a dinner I knew she would love. The lack of conversation at dinner was an indication that they thought my recreated diner entree was good as she and her sister enjoyed their patty melts. As they came up for air after finishing their dinners, they said they were good, really good.
It looks like I will be making Caramelized Onion Patty Melts again.
We had one extra patty melt that was wrapped up for later. That was 2 days ago so don't think that it is still in the refrigerator. It has already been eaten.
Caramelized Onion Patty Melt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large Vadalia onion, slice thin
1 pound ground beef, 93% fat free
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
8 slices American cheese
8 slices white bread
In a large saute pan over medium high heat add the olive oil, butter and onion. Saute for 10 - 15 minutes or until the onions a softened and are light brown. Remove from the pan to a plate and cover with foil.
In a bowl, combine the ground beef, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Form into 4 very thin patties. Heat the saute pan to medium high heat and add the patties. Depending on the size of your pan, it may be necessary to cook the patties in batches. Cook the patties for about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and wipe clean with paper towels.
For each patty melt, place two slices of bread on a work surface. Put a slice of American cheese on each slice of bread and top one slice with a patty. Put 1/4 of the caramelized onions on top of the patty and top with the other slice of bread with the cheese. Repeat the same process for the remaining patty melts.
Heat the saute pan to medium high and add about 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Cook the patty melts until lightly brown on each side and the cheese is melted, about 2 - 3 minutes for each side. Remove from pan and slice on a diagonal to serve.