I can not definately recall the first time I had a Patty Melt, but I think it was at the lunch counter at Pine Ridge Golf Course where I worked when I was in high school. It is an old fashioned diner meal and I'm not sure how many still make it. I must admit that I usually turn to the Patty Melt when I am craving a burger but I don't have a bun. I generally always have some good crusty bread on hand, though not always rye which is traditional. Such was the case last night.
A Patty Melt is basically a cooked hamburger placed between two pieces of bread (usually rye, though I used sour dough) and topped with swiss cheese, grilled onions and thousand island dressing. The hamburger sandwich is then buttered on both sides and grilled as you would a grilled cheese or panini. It is fantastic and a great alternative to the usual burger on a bun. I made the thousand island dressing by combining 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne and salt and pepper. For those of you who remember, it is similar to Big "H" Sauce, which is also much like Big Mac sauce. It is also delicious on salad, fabulous as a dipping sauce for steamed or boiled shrimp and also quite tasty with onion rings (particularly if you also add a spoonful of horseradish).
The salad I had was simple mixed spring greens which I washed thoroughly (despite the container saying it was ready to eat) and dried completely with the salad spinner. A simple dressing of 2 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 or 1 1/2 parts red wine vinegar makes it the perfect palate cleansing side to this Diner Style Patty Melt.