Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patty's Melt

A touch of green for ole St. Patty

In honor of St. Patty's Day, we present to you the St. Patty's Melt.  We are Irish after all, and it's fun to indulge in random holidays, so we racked our brain until we came up with this gem.  It is your basic patty melt minus the rye bread (because it's gross).  We substituted this amazing texas toast instead.

1" thick per slice.  140 calories per slice.  Yep, glad I only ate a piece of lettuce so far today.

We also added some lettuce because we felt some green needed to be in a St. Patty's Day burger.  Not traditional, but essential because all things St. Patty's day related must be green.  I hope you are wearing green right now and enjoying a tasty green beer.  For this grand occasion, we are planning on watching the UK game and drinking some of the homemade green skittle-infused vodka that we made earlier this week.  All in the name of St. Patrick, of course! 

Now let's get down to business, here's the low down on the patty melt:

St. Patty's Melt

The Burger:
Ground beef 80:20
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

The Toppings:
Aged swiss cheese
Caramelized onions (see below)
Thousand island dressing
Bibb lettuce

The Bun:
Texas toast

Money shot.  You know you want it.

Now let's talk about the onions.  They do take a little bit of time to cook, but it's so worth it.  The pungent raw flavor of the onions is transformed into sweet golden love.  These onions could compliment any burger and will be gracing our table many more times in the future.  They are simple to make; slice half an onion, toss the separated rings into a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter, and then you wait.  Go watch your DVR.  Put together a puzzle.  Play drinking games with your crazy neighbor.  Whatever you want to do, just leave the onions to do their own magic.  And hey, maybe you can be entertained for 25 minutes while they cook.

Here are the onions at ~5 mins

About 25 minutes later, you have delicious, golden, sugary onions.

 The Verdict:

Tyler's Take:
4 out of 10

This burger was super delicious in theory but overall disappointed me so I don't feel right giving it a very good score this week.  I do love a good patty melt and maybe it's that we are trying to do things a little healthier but it just didn't remind me of a good small town mom and pop cafe patty melt that many of us love so much.  There were some good points but overall I think our troubles with it far outweighed the tasty pieces.

Here is my dish on this burger.  I'll start with the not so great pieces and leave the best for last.  Mom always told me to save the best for last and I figure I may as well heed her advice.  Lets start with the texas toast.  This is a delicious concept that unfortunately turned out to just be too much.  Taking off the edges would have made this problem a little better but I do love all of the texas toast so I couldn't just take part of it off.  As I am sure you know, getting away from the outside of the bread leaves a thinner buttery bread piece that fits this burger much better.  So, it didn't completely disappoint but like I said the amount of good did not quite outweigh the bad.

The patty also became a problem.  The meat was left out all day to thaw and didn't quite get there so we had to defrost a little bit in the microwave, so the patties were already falling apart on us.  All you grilling enthusiasts out there now realize that we could not grill it effectively and had to resort to pan frying it.  This is not an equal alternative and it showed.  The meat was not near as amazing as last week's burger.  But, many things would not be able to top the juiciness of the inaugural burger.

The rest of the burger was really pretty good.  The lettuce, onion, and swiss made a very good combination and would have complimented a grilled burger on top of more regular buttered toast.  We will have many more opportunities to try and perfect the melt but we may need to take this one all the way back to the drawing board.  Hope you all found time to enjoy the inaugural and all is not lost this week, patty melts are amazing and I feel an amazing new burger on the horizon for next week.  I would spoil our ideas, but where would be the fun in that?

Courtney's Take:
7 out of 10

In all honesty, I'm not sure this burger really deserves a 7 out of 10.  It could have been executed better.  The bread could have not been so...thick.  But, I really like the concept of this burger.  It had so many good elements.

I'll begin with the burger itself--not my favorite.  I accidentally defrosted the meat too long in the microwave and when I pulled it out, some of it was already cooked.  I had to form the patties as best I could, and I knew that they would fall to bits if we put them on the grill as originally planned.  So, we had to put them in a pan and cook them stovetop.  I have never been a fan of fried burgers.  They just taste like a big mound of meat and not like a juicy delicious burger.  If I wanted a meat loaf, I would have baked one.  Sheesh.  (Next time, don't forget to put the meat out to thaw the night before!)

On to the toppings, which were delicious.  The caramelized onions...well, you already know how I feel about those.  I believe the words "love" and "magic" have already been used, so I will spare you of that. The thousand island was a nice touch, too.  It was tangy and sweet and played well with the rest of the ingredients.  The lettuce, eh.  It's lettuce.  It was only on there to add some greenery.  I did like the swiss cheese.  Because it was aged, it had a nuttier flavor than it's non-aged cousin.  I am looking forward to using this cheese on my sandwiches for the next week :)

The bun....well, frankly it was too much.  The toast slices were massive.  Each slice was the size of a burger.  I ended up peeling the crusts off the bread so I could actually fit the burger into my mouth.  I toasted the bread in the pan with some butter and the drippings from the burgers.  Just one piece of the toast would have been enough.  We will stick to using texas toast for what it makes best--garlic bread.

There are many improvements that could be made to this burger.  However, the concept is there and I urge you to try making your own patty melt.  Use regular bread and definitely grill your burger.  You do that, and you will have a mouthwatering St. Patty's Melt of your very own.

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