College Cooking with Evan: Fire alarm patty melt
Last week, I really wanted a patty melt. It was an undeniably weird craving but one that I couldn’t satisfy while on campus. I had no idea where I could get one from anywhere in Newark, so, naturally, I turned to the kitchen of my residence hall and made one myself.
A patty melt is a fairly simple recipe, if you know how to make grilled cheese. All you need to do is season some ground beef, make it into patties, pan fry them and put them in between the slices of cheese you would put on bread to make grilled cheese. An optional step to this recipe is thousand island dressing spread on the bread.
Patty melts are greasy, cheesy and saucy goodness that remind me of home. There is a sandwich place back in my hometown in Maryland that sells a magnificent patty melt, and I go back home just to get it sometimes.
This week, however, my recipe had an ending to it that I did not expect, whatsoever.
After I was done grilling the second sandwich of the two that I was making for this week’s recipe, I heard an alarm go off. I was listening to jazz while cooking, so it definitely was not my music that I heard the siren coming from. Then, a loud male voice came from a speaker overhead, “THERE IS A FIRE EMERGENCY IN YOUR BUILDING. PLEASE EVACUATE TO THE NEAREST EXIT.”
Brilliant. The smoke from the final sandwich set off the fire alarm, even though there was barely any smoke at all coming from the pan in this recipe. In fact, more smoke was produced when I made the pasta aglio e olio near the beginning of the semester. Regardless, I turned off the stove and put my dishes in the sink, and I carried my paper plate stacked high with patty melt outside.
I was welcomed by a crowd of unhappy and cold students. With my patty melt in hand, I walked across the parking lot behind Sharp and sat on the curb behind Grotto Pizza, and enjoyed my patty melt. The moral of the story is, if you enjoy melts, be prepared to evacuate your entire building because they can get smoky.
Time: 20 minutes
½ pound ground beef
1 tbsp onion powder
4 slices of Rye bread
4 slices of American cheese
Thousand island dressing
Butter, to grease the pan
Salt and pepper to taste
Season the ground beef with salt, pepper and onion powder
With latex gloves on, form the ground beef into balls that are about the size of a wiffle ball. If you need help with this step of the recipe, there are lots of videos on youtube about how to form patties. You should form four patties from this ground beef
Over high heat, melt ⅙ stick of butter in a pan
Place the flattened patties into the pan, and cook for about 2-4 minutes on each side.
Spread the desired amount of sauce onto the bread, and then, place cheese and patties on.
Place the sandwiches into the pan, and press down
Flip after 3-4 minutes, and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes
Repeat for the second sandwich