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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Patty Melt + The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo (cookbook review)

Patty Melt
Let me just preface this post by saying something:
I Love Sandwiches.

The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches
The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches is the latest release by Susan Russo (you may recognize her from her blog, Food Blogga).  We're a sandwich eatin' kind of family, so I was pretty stoked when this compact, comprehensive little guide to all-things-sandwich arrived on my doorstep.

Yes, it lives up to its name. It starts with the All-in-One Breakfast Sandwich and ends with a Walleye Sandwich (let's say they are the two slices of bread, you know... for all intents and purposes) and has sandwiches (the meat, the cheese, the veggies) that run the alphabet gamut layered in between.

There is both history and trivia that will delight both the sandwich aficionado and the sandwich virgin (Are there really any of those left out there?  We start so early these days...from the highchair, almost...) not to mention recipes that will bring back blasts from the past, like my childhood favorite, a bologna sandwich (mine with cheese, mustard, and Doritos...thank you very much) or a meatloaf sandwich.

There's lighter fare like a Grilled Portobello Sandwich or the Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich and the extreme opposite of light fare, the Doughnut Sandwich.

I found sammies I'd never heard of that I totally want to try, such as the Frittata Sandwich and the Italian Tuna Salad Sandwich and even a Spaghetti Sandwich.  But I also found sammies that already top my list of favorites, like the Monte Cristo, French Dip, BLT, Hot Roast Beef, Club, Liverwurst, Cuban, Torta, Reuben...I could go on.

I told you I loved sandwiches.

The two I've tried so far are the Fluffer Nutter which I'd heard of, but believe it or not never actually tried before.  Ever. In my Life.  Not even as a kid.  I don't think I remember ever having marshmallow fluff in the house.  It was kinda sweet for me, but I can see how a kid might love it.  It's like eating dessert for lunch.  Marshmallow and peanut butter will definitely be hanging out together in a dessert at my house in the near future.
Fluffer Nutter Sandwich
The second sandwich from the book that I wanted to test out was the Patty Melt.  Now, unlike the Fluffer Nutter, I have had a Patty Melt before...many times throughout the years, but I don't think I've ever actually made one at home. Why!?  So simple.  So perma-grin inducing.  So tasty.  The only thing I did different is add a bit of  "sauce" to moisten it all up a bit and add an extra hit of flavor.  That's how I've always eaten them, so yes, that's how I like 'em.

Patty Melt
(makes 1)
slightly adapted from The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion
1 (1/4 pound) hamburger patty
salt & pepper
1 slice swiss cheese
Thousand Island or Russian dressing (my addition - because it makes the sandwich!)
2 slices rye bread, toasted and buttered

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add onions. Cook slowly, stirring from time to time until onions are golden and caramelized, ~15-20 minutes.

Season your burger patty with salt and pepper, then cook to your liking on a hot cast iron skillet. Top with cheese and cover for a couple of minutes to help cheese melt. Put a healthy dollop of dressing on the toasted bread, then top with the burger patty that now has melty cheese. Strew onions over top and finish with your second slice of bread.
Patty Melt Sandwich
Do I need to tell you that I think this is a great book for any food-lover to add to their library? Well, just in case...This is a great book for any food-lover to add to their library! Oh, and can I just throw in the fact that I'm pretty sure each and every single sandwich has a photo to go along with it? Oh. Yes. (And they were taken by Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites.)

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Quirk Books), to review, should I choose. All opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.