I don’t eat red meat, but I love the idea of patty melts. Okay, I don’t dig rye bread or pickles, either. So, what do I love about patty melts? It must be the name. That, and the melted, gooey cheese. Mmmm. Anyway, while watching someone on the telly make patty melts one night, I thought to myself: I’m going to make veggie “patty” melts next week. In lieu of beef patties, I used hearty eggplant and mushrooms to give the sandwich a “meaty” feel. Red peppers, plenty of caramelized onions, and a nice sharp, white cheddar cheese rounded out the veggie melt. If you prefer the more traditional Swiss cheese, you’re welcome to use that, however. And since I’m not a rye fan, I opted for sourdough, but you can use any bread you like. My husband, a big meat eater, loved this sandwich, so hopefully it will please your picky eater, too.
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 med. eggplant, sliced medium thick
1 red pepper, sliced
1 package Crimini or white mushrooms, or about 12 count; sliced
sharp white cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
“Sweat” your eggplant. To “sweat” eggplant, slice into desired thickness, layer slices in a colander, salting each layer, and place a heavy bowl over the top. Let drain for about half an hour. Pat dry each slice as you place it in your roasting pan. This will help remove extra moisture and salt.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your eggplant slices in a single layer in a roasting pan or baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast, turning every 10-15 minutes until soft. Depending on thickness, this takes about 40-50 minutes.
In the meantime, caramelize your onions. Thinly slice two large onions, and place them in a pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook until softened, reduce heat, and cook until they are deeply brown. This will take about 40-50 minutes as well.
About 10 minutes before your eggplant and onions are done, sauté the mushrooms and red pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the cheese, place on bread, and place in toaster oven or under a broiler until cheese is bubbly and bread is toasty brown.
Heap plenty of eggplant, onions, red pepper, and mushrooms onto a bread slice and top with another bread slice.