My new take on a patty melt is based on a hybrid of breakfast sausage patties and fresh Italian pork sausage. Instead of caramelized onions, a shredded apple onion relish brings more sweetness to each bite. If you’d like to make it more breakfasty: add chopped sage and a glug of maple syrup to the patty mix, and then throw an egg on top of your finished melt. Use any melty cheese, like Swiss, Muenster, or Provolone.
- Fill a mixing bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice.
- Grate the apples on the large holes of a box grater. Place the apples in the lemon water to prevent them from browning.
- Grate the onion. Set aside.
- In a cast iron pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Sauté the onions for 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly caramelized.
- Deglaze the onions with apple cider vinegar.
- Drain the apples and add them to the pan with the sugar, the ginger and a pinch of kosher salt.
- Continue to sauté until the apples have softened, 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and stir in the reserved lemon zest.
- Let completely cool before transferring to an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Mix the ground pork, black pepper, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt.
- Form the pork into four equal oblong patties that are about the size and shape of your bread slices. You will have two extra, which you can refrigerate at this point for future sandwiches.
- Make a little indentation in the center of each patty with your thumb.
- Fry the pork patties on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, until they reach an internal temperature of 160ºF. Remove the pork to a plate.
- In the same pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Place a slice of bread in the pan and stack a pork patty, 2 tablespoons of apple onion relish, two slices of cheese, and another slice of bread on top.
- Fry in butter for 3 to 4 minutes to brown the bread. Carefully lift the sandwich with a spatula. Melt another tablespoon of butter before flipping the melt.
- Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Repeat with the other sandwich. Serve warm.
Jenn de la Vega is TASTE's Cook In Residence and the writer behind the blog Randwiches.