Turkey and Smoked Cheddar Patty Melts with Sriracha Mayo
Dinner is not always my best subject. Sure, I like to cook, but I must admit most evenings my family’s final meal together is quickly thrown together. ‘Cereal’ has become a recent menu item. Also, ‘popcorn’. This turkey patty recently came into our lives for the better, and just in time. My brother-in-law made these for us one night, in the midst of us moving into a new house and an epic ‘where to put the furniture’ argument my husband and I stumbled into. As we all sat down to dinner, the stress we had been working through slowly left, and this simple meal became one of the best things I had eaten in a long, long time. It’s now a permanent fixture on our weekly rotation.
Chilling the patty meat helps the flavors meld, and also helps the patty flip better when cooking it on the stove top. I used brioche for the sandwich bread, but any good sandwich bread will work.
3 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small apple, cored and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/8 cup vermouth
16 ounces ground turkey
salt and pepper
1-2 cups smoked cheddar cheese (as much or as little as you like here; I use 1 cup)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1-3 teaspoons sriracha (I like it on the less-spicy side, and use 1 teaspoon. Add more if you want more of a kick)
8 slices good sandwich bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent (but not yet beginning to brown), about 5 minutes. Add the grated apple and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the apple has softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the vermouth and cook until it has mostly evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl, and let cool.
Once the onion mixture has cooled, add the turkey and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and mix gently until completely combined. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
In the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the turkey and using a spatula, spread the mixture over the whole surface and even out the top. Cook until the turkey is golden brown on the bottom, about 4-5 minutes. Using a large spatula, flip the patty over and cook the other side until golden brown and the center is fully cooked, another 4-5 minutes. Top with the grated cheddar and cover the skillet with a lid. Let the cheese steam until melted, about 1 minute. Move the patty to a plate and let sit while preparing the bread.
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and the sriracha. Spread a medium-thick layer of the sriracha mayo on each piece of bread. Cut the turkey patty into four pieces. Top four pieces of the bread with a piece of the turkey patty, then top the turkey with the remaining piece of bread, sriracha side down. Brush both sides of the sandwiches with a thin layer of olive oil.
In a large, clean skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Place two sandwiches in the skillet and cook until both sides are golden brown. Repeat with remaining butter and sandwiches.