What do you get when you cross an irreverent wordsmith with a curious, opinionated chef? Tyler Kord. He’s the chef and owner of the No. 7 restaurant and sub shops in New York City and the author of “A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches.”
Kord’s version of the patty melt starts with a veggie burger patty made from crumbled seitan and roasted broccoli, roasted red onions and at least two — or three! — slices of cheddar sandwiched between two slices of rye. But “don’t get that bullsh*t rye bread with no caraway seeds,” he warns while pan-frying patty melts in salted butter. The butter is still less fat than “you would be consuming if you made this with ground beef!” This patty melt is toasted to perfection and served hot with zesty pickles and Kord’s signature Smoked French Dressing on the side. Serve ’em up, chef.
Yield: Makes 4 “seriously outrageous” patty melts
8 slices of rye bread
4 tbsps salted butter
4 Veggie Burger Patties (recipe follows below)
8–12 slices cheddar cheese
1 cup Roasted Red Onions (recipe follows below)
Smoked French Dressing (recipe follows below)
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place 4 slices of rye bread in the pan and layer a slice of cheddar cheese and a Veggie Burger Patty, followed by a quarter of the Roasted Red Onions and another slice of cheese. Top with a second slice of rye bread and press down lightly to cook. Check to be sure that the bottom slice of rye is toasted to a nice golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Then carefully flip the patty melts and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook, occasionally moving them around to evenly distribute the butter. Cook until the bottom of the patty melt toasts to a golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
Serve with pickles and Smoked French Dressing on the side for dipping.
VEGGIE BURGER PATTIES
These Veggie Burger Patties are a mix of ground seitan and roasted, shredded broccoli. Kord says they crumble like ground meat but have a “lighter, more vegetal flavor.”
Yield: Makes 6 burger patties
Veggie Burger Patty Ingredients
1½ cups seitan, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 cup roasted broccoli, chopped
1 whole egg, beaten
6 tbsps bread crumbs
1 tsp kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for cooking
Ring molds (optional)
Prepare the mixture: In a food processor, pulse the seitan, roasted broccoli, egg, breadcrumbs and salt until everything is thoroughly mixed and no big chunks are left. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 days.
Shape the patties: Divide the patty mixture into 6 equal portions. Shape each one into a rough ball by rolling the mixture in your hands. Gently press the balls into patties. If you prefer, you can shape your patties into ring molds.
Fry the patties: In a large sauté pan, heat enough oil over medium heat to slick the pan. Once the oil begins to shimmer, place as many patties as will fit comfortably in the pan. Once the edges begin to caramelize, about 3 minutes, carefully flip the patties and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
To serve: Transfer the Veggie Burger Patties onto buns. Kord recommends using “whatever toppings make you feel badass” and listening to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town” as you “eat your super awesome veggie burger and flip people off out of the window.”
ROASTED RED ONIONS
Kord says he prefers roasted onions to caramelized onions on his Patty Melt because “they’re sweet and they refuse to sit down and be quiet. But be careful not to over-roast them because they can completely take over.”
Yield: Makes 3 cups roasted onions
2 large red onions, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rings
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 tsps salt
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
Prep the onions: Toss the onions, oil and salt together in a mixing bowl until the onions are thoroughly coated.
Roast the onions: Place the onions on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and cook until somewhat tender and slightly charred on the edges, about 20 minutes. Don’t over roast the onions — they should still have a little bite.
Transfer the onions to a container and allow to cool before putting into your Patty Melt.
SMOKED FRENCH DRESSING
If you don’t have a smoker, Kord suggests adding a few drops of liquid smoke to season your ketchup. Be careful not to overdo it though: a little goes a long way.
Yield: Makes about 1½ cups of dressing
Smoked French Dressing Ingredients
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup canola oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
A smoker, for smoking (optional)
A handful of mesquite chips (optional)
Liquid smoke (optional)
A non-reactive metal bowl
Smoke the ketchup: Set up your smoker. Pour a half cup ketchup into a non-reactive metal bowl and place it inside of the smoker. Smoke the ketchup until the smoke runs out. Then remove the bowl of ketchup from the smoker and allow to cool.
Transfer the smoked ketchup to a blender and add the mayonnaise, white vinegar, canola oil, honey and salt. Purée until smooth.
Optional: Alternatively, you can use 2 teaspoons of lapsang souchong tea to season your ketchup instead of smoking or adding liquid smoke to season it.
Photo of Patty Melts! (above) by Noah Fecks.