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.

turkey and smoked cheddar patty melts | wit & delight

turkey and smoked cheddar patty melt | wit & delight

turkey and smoked cheddar patty melts | wit & delight

Turkey and Smoked Cheddar Patty Melts
Inspired by Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink and my brother-in-law, BJ Kieffer

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.

turkey and smoked cheddar patty melts | wit & delight