9 August 2012

Patty Melt with Zucchini Coleslaw Makes You Want to Run Through the House with Scissors

Patty Melt With Zucchini Coleslaw

If you're of a certain age you will remember your childhood as a carefree nostalgic time. Throughout the summer you could be found playing outside with friends most of the day skipping rope, playing hopscotch and baseball, and riding your bike every where you wanted to go. My dad taught me to pay "conkers" and marbles. My parents could not reach me by cell phone and I am still here to tell the tale. We had  no bicycle helmets, ate mayonnaise, climbed trees, built rickety rafts on our local ponds, drank water from the garden hose (and even the kitchen tap). I am sure that if you are of a certain age you are proud that you survived all the other life threatening things we grew up with "back in the day." It kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors doesn't it!!!!!!!!! Joie de vivre!

Our world was our neighbourhood. We were allowed to be kids, to dream, to invent, and to play.  No computers, no on-line friends, ABSOLUTELY NO TEXTING, only black and white television on a Sunday night. As a special treat on a Friday night our entire family piled into the car and headed to the drive-in dressed in our pyjamas, we walked to the Dairy Queen for a chocolate dipped cone, we knew everyone in our diverse neighbourhood, and in my childhood innocence I still believe our parents never worried about us. We were safe, happy and well adjusted. I can't say that life was better but it was certainly less complicated.

No matter what we were doing we gathered as a family around the dinner table at 5:30 sharp. On the rare occasion we would go out. Every town had a diner, a throw-back from the 50's, where you could order an ice cream soda or a thick shake, a juicy hamburger, a hot turkey sandwich or the daily special. 

My personal favourite was that diner staple the Patty Melt served with a generous helping of french fries. A thin burger sandwiched between slices of  rye bread along with caramelized onions, melted cheese and grilled in a saute pan. 

The world may be getting more high tech and complicated every day, but that doesn't mean people are not nostalgic for the "good old days." When life just seems too complicated revert back to the simple things in life. Arrest your taste buds with the tried and true flavours of this classic. I modernized it a little, because that is how I roll, by adding some lemony zucchini coleslaw sandwiched in between the gooey layers. The contrast between the juicy burger, the melted cheese and the lemony slaw has me hooked for life. Of course you could also serve this zesty salad from Anna Olson on the side with a pint of your favourite beer. For those of you who are following, notice how I sneaked some zucchini in there..wink..wink. Now sit back and enjoy a summer evening. Like childhood they are fleeting. 

**Patty Melt with Zucchini Lemon Coleslaw**
a recipe from the More Than Burnt Toast Kitchen

4 tablespoons canola oil
1 lb. ground beef, gently formed into 6 balls
2 medium red or yellow onions, very thinly sliced with a mandolin or a sharp knife and divided into 6 equal portions 
Salt, to taste
6 slices Cheddar cheese or cheese of choice
6 hamburger buns
Mustard, mayonnaise
Zucchini Lemon Slaw (recipe to follow)

Working in 2 batches, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 beef balls and, using the back of a spatula, press down on them until they're thin; cook for 1 minute. Top each patty with a portion of the onions; season with salt. Press onions into the meat and flip the burgers so that the onion is face down in the pan. Flatten with the spatula. Cook 2 minutes. The burger will not be cooked through since it will continue to cook in the next step.

On flat surface spread mayonnaise and mustard on one side of the burger bun. Place partially cooked patty on top. Top with a slice of cheese. Top with a good helping of lemon zucchini coleslaw. Top with other half of bun.

Wipe the skillet with paper towelling. In the same skillet place each patty melt (you may need to do this in several batches). Top with a heavy object to flatten slightly while cooking. Cook for 2-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the burger or until meat is cooked through.

Remove from the skillet and slice diagonally. Serve.

Serves 6

**Zucchini Lemon Slaw**
recipe from Anna Olson

2 medium zucchini
1 medium carrot
1-1/2 tsp salt
3 green onions, sliced on the bias
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest and/or 2 tsp chopped lemon balm or lemon verbena
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper

Grate zucchini and carrot coarsely or slice into a julienne on a mandolin. Toss veggies with salt and let sit 30 minutes.

Squeeze out excess liquid and toss vegetables with remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste.

Chill until ready to serve.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. This looks delicious! I definitely need to give this recipe a try!

  2. I don't think a "patty melt" was something common to my neck of the woods but the ingredients are familiar, of course. I like your trick with the onions - and the zucchini lemon slaw sounds delicious.

  3. I think you've discovered just about the only slaw that I will ever love! Sounds great!

  4. Really scrumptious looking! A great recipe.



  5. You've accurately described the good old days of childhood and brought back happy summer memories.

    But Val, I'm in love with your zucchini lemon slaw. It would be fabulous with any burger and make me a happy person.

  6. Love the story of the local diner... I think ours was the Chinese Food Restaurant... our burger stands were open only from the May long weekend to the September long weekend in "the old days".
    The slaw is timely! Thank you!

  7. As kids we never had Chinese food Valerie. My dad is a vegetarian and there had to be something on the menu that would eat. Eventually we discovered pizza!

  8. I enjoyed walking down memory lane with you. As I was reading this my son asked me what I was smiling about. I was dreaming about how we'd play hide and seek with the neighbors using the tree in front of our house; riding our bikes to the park 5 blocks and playing there all afternoon; piling in my moms wagon on Saturday to see a double feature for a quarter at the movies and eating at Steak n' Shake in the car with the little trays that attach to the car windows.

    Life did seem simpler then and safer. Those were the good ole days but then again my parents say there's we're the good ole days.

    Last night we all had Reuben sandwiches of course mine was a turkey rueben with sweet potato fries so I guess some things do change.

    I enjoyed reading your post and can't wait to try your yummy zucchini slaw.

  9. The zucchini slaw brings it a bit up to date, but I remember those times myself and I loved our diner. (and soft serve ice cream) and playing outside which no one does anymore. It's all playdates in the house?

  10. Sweet post. Can't wait to make the zucchini slaw!

  11. It was a more innocenttime for sure Vicki, and yes our parents feel their lives were idealic. It is a shame that our kids will not have these same memories. I was sitting in a room full of teenagers not long ago and the only conversation going on was the texting.

  12. You could have been writing about my childhood Val. We also loved to screw on our roller skates with a key and skate all over town. The hill in our downtown area was a killer. Can't believe we all survived indeed. But what fun. Thanks for the reminder. The patty melt looks delicious. Our favorite diner served chicken in a basket. (Fried chicken and french fries in one of those red plastic woven baskets.

  13. Such a fun post, Val! Did you live in my hometown, it sounds exactly like my childhood in the midwest. How about A&W - did you have one of those too? Oh how I loved those chocolate dipped cones and the dilly bars! Love your burger, such a delicious looking blast from the past :)

  14. Yes we did have A & W where they had trays that that hung on your window. We used to go there as well for Junior burgers and Baby Burgers. I don't recall what my "veggie" dad would eat there. We also built a go cart that we used to drive down the hill, tobaggan at the cemetery and swim after a good rain at the end of the street.

  15. Patty Melts are still one my my all-time favorite sandwiches! We had some great diners and burger places in my home town too. Great thinking back to those times. Your father was certainly ahead of his time being a vegetarian!

  16. At our dinner party, we were just lamenting how today's generation missed out on the Ozzie and Harriet generation. How I remember playing in the neighborhood, hearing my mom's loud whistle and racing home for dinner. We never worried about being kidnapped or gang shootings. Those were the days... I love a good Patty Melt. LOVE it! The slaw is a nice touch, and a lot healthier than fries.

  17. I think no matter your age, you remember your childhood as a carefree nostalgic time - it's just the things you're nostalgic about change!

  18. What a gorgeous childhood you had, Val. :-) I love your memories of Patty Melt's because they were my favorite too!! So delish. :-)

  19. Your neighborhood sounds a lot like mine, Val. Kids played outside all the time and if it was cold we just put a coat on. Those days are long gone but leave us with some very special memories. Thanks for a new and refreshing way to prepare zucchini.

  20. Even though patty melts have been on every diner menu I've seen since childhood, I have seriously never bitten into one. So strange! I'll have to try this for sure now after your description of it's happiness-inducing powers!!

  21. what a title. :) i've never eaten slaw on a burger (but on hot dogs, for sure!), but this sounds like a very special slaw and it's lovely to behold!

  22. Love the nostalgia. I must say, however, as much as the "good 'ol days" were good, when it comes to food, I'd never want to go back. What would we do if we walked into our favourite grocery store and it was suddenly 1952?

    1. The "spice aisle" would consist of about twelve items.

    2. The "bakery" would have white loaves, white hotdog buns and white hamburger buns.

    3. The "ethnic aisle" would carry spaghetti, pickles, and those fancy olives that you'd use solely for your hubby's Martini that you'd have ready for him when he walked in the door.

    4. Think of the vegetables!!!

  23. Love the zucchini slaw, Val! What a great take on a classic and perfect for this time of year!


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