I decided to make my version using ground turkey instead of the standard ground beef. Recently I read a patty melt recipe in a cooking magazine that used torn up rye bread, soaked in milk to make a "panade" or paste to add to the patty mixture. I knew, like a meatloaf or meatballs, that this addition would add tenderness to the burger as well as flavor. Since I typically make both meatloaf and meatballs using ground turkey, I figured it would fit the bill nicely for this application.
This recipe is pretty fast to throw together, like a "30-minute meal" caliber dinner. I was kinda surprised that it came together so quickly since patty melts are a bit of a multi-step process, caramelize onions, form and cook burger patties, put together a sandwich and grill it. But it came together swiftly and only dirtied one skillet.
When I offered up one of these patty melts to my 11-year old son, Caleb, he took one bite and said, "Aw dude, that tastes awesome!". I think that's good enough for me!
Turkey Patty Melts
~makes 4 sandwiches~
2 large onions, thinly sliced
5 t. canola oil, divided
10 slices of rye bread
2 T. milk
1 T. worcestershire sauce
3/4 t. onion powder
1 t. salt, divided
1/2 t. pepper
1 1/4 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
8 oz. swiss cheese, shredded
8 t. Thousand Island Dressing (plus additional for serving with the sandwiches, if desired)
2 T. salted butter
1. Heat 2 t. of the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add onions and 1/2 t. salt and cook stirring often until the onions are nicely browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions to a clean plate and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, form the patties: Tear 2 slices of the bread into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl place bread pieces, milk, worcestershire, onion powder, 1/2 t. salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth, add ground turkey and using your hands, thoroughly mix. Shape into 4, 4x6-inch patties. When the onions are out of the pan, add remaining 3 t. canola oil. When the oil is shimmering again, add the patties and cook until well browned on the first side, about 5 minutes. Flip patties and reduce the heat to medium and cook until the patties are cooked all the way through, about 7 minutes more. Remove patties from skillet. Wipe out the skillet with paper towel.
3. Assemble the sandwiches: Divide half the cheese between 4 of the bread slices. Top with the turkey burgers and spread each patty with 2 t. Thousand Island dressing. Divide onions between sandwiches and remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread.
4. Grill the Patty Melts: Melt 1 T. butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add two sandwiches and grill until golden brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining 1 T.butter and the last two sandwiches. Serve with additional Thousand Island dressing, if desired.