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patty melt

A while back, I posted a recipe for a Meatball Sandwich, something I had been craving like a lunatic and just had to get my hands around. Then, a few weeks later, I ran into a reader (at a health food store!) in Paris who said, “That was funny…because I was craving the exact same thing, and then I saw it on your blog!”

rye bread

Am not sure where these urgent food cravings are coming from, but they seem to go in waves, and like a courant d’air that blows through Paris – not all of us close the window on them. I haven’t seen any meatball sandwiches in town since I made one, but Hamburgers are still having their day and I was having a burger at a favorite burger joint, Big Fernand, and talking with one of the very nice mecs that owns the place.

Even though I’m so buried in mountains, files, and heaps of paperwork, I’ve had to create a new folder to archive messages in my Inbox that begin with “You should…” (Lordy, I wish I could do it all…) – I said to him “You should make patty melts!” I had to describe what a patty melt was, and am not sure if words can describe the magic of the patty melt.

But he looked kind of interested in what this crazy American was talking about. A burger? Not on a bun? Bread with caraway seeds? Fried on a griddle? So I gave him my card and hoped for the call.

buttered bread for patty melt

Unfortunately I’m not sure since I’ve been patiently waiting for my phone to ring for the past six months and can’t ask them. But I decided to take matters into my own hands – figuratively and literally – and fry up a couple of patty melts at home.

swiss cheese for patty melt

The patty melt is a curious sandwich. Perhaps it’s because people in Paris don’t eat caraway-seeded rye bread (or at least I’ve never seen it), which is a crucial ingredient that you can’t skip. I know, I know. I should have. But had to use the rye bread sold at the local supermarché. I would have hand-studded the slices with caraway seeds, but I already get too many funny looks around here. (In addition to the blank looks I get if I talk about carvi, or caraway seeds.) And the melty, grilled onions are obligatoire, but not really something you’d find oozing out of a sandwich in Paris.

Patty melt recipe

But there’s plenty of French beef, there are bins of onions at the markets just waiting to be sautéed. And there’s definitely no shortage of great cheese. So they should have called me. (Perhaps my card got archived in their special Inbox as well?)

Dijon mustard

Anyhow, I’m not sure what the food authenticity-police have to say about condiments, but I like a swipe of spicy Dijon mustard on mine, which cuts the richness of the onions and cheese that accompany the juicy burger. However you could use a yellow mustard for the full-on “burger joint” effect.

Patty melt

As soon as I fried up the sandwiches, we dug in. And I learned that there’s only one thing harder than taking a picture of a patty melt, and that’s taking a picture of a Frenchman wolfing down a patty melt. (Or translating what “wolfing down” is.) But once you pick it up, it’s hard to put down, with the bread barely able to contain the heap of onions, beef, and cheese packed inside. So you don’t want to let it go, until you reach the end. Which is where I am with this story. Now go make them. You should.

patty melt

Patty Melt

It’s important to use rye bread with caraway seeds (called Jewish rye, in the United States.) Those little savory seeds add a distinct, yet critical flavor to the sandwich.
  • 2 onions, (about 1 pound/ 450g)
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 – 14 ounces (350g) ground beef
  • 4 slices Swiss-style cheese, such as Emmenthal
  • 4 slices Jewish rye bread
  • Additional softened butter for the bread and frying the sandwiches
  • Peel and slice the onions. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, season them with salt and pepper, and cook them – stirring frequently – until soft, wilted, and golden brown. It should take about 15 minutes. If using a non-stick skillet, you may need to add the additional tablespoon of butter. Set aside.
  • Season the ground beef with salt and pepper and shape into two oval patties about the size of the slices of bread you’ll be using. In a separate pan, fry the beef patties until done a little less than your liking.
  • Butter one side of each slice of bread, then flip them over so the butter side is down, and lay a slice of cheese over each slice of bread. Spread some of the cooked onions over two cheese-covered slices of the bread, top them with a beef patty, then flip the remaining two slices of cheese-covered bread over the beef patties and press down with enough pressure to “meld” the fillings.
  • Heat some butter in a skillet (preferably cast-iron) or a grill pan over medium heat and slide the two sandwiches in. Once the underside of the sandwiches are grilled to your liking – which will take a few minutes, use a spatula to carefully flip the two sandwiches.
  • Continue to cook the sandwiches so the other side gets grilled. You may want to press the sandwiches down while they are heating to compress them, which makes them easier to handle and eat. Don’t worry about any of the burger juices running out; any that do will get absorbed by the bread and will be delicious. (And if the cheese isn’t melting quickly, cover the pan with a lid, to encourage the cheese to melt.)
  • When the sandwiches are ready, slide them onto a cutting board, slice them in half, and serve.

browned onions for patty melt



    • Marlinia

    Definitely making these tonight! Thank-You David

    • june2

    That is one serious manwich there, with seeded rye, onions, a burger And mustard, lol. I used to use that very same rye for sweet butter and raspberry jam open-faced sandwiches, myself. Could not open a book without having a stack of them to read with.

    • Alec Lobrano

    Just warning you, you are SO coming over and making patty melts next week in the country. And miraculously enough, they have rye with caraway seeds at my local Franprix, so I’ll be well equipped. And just so that you know, failure to oblige will result in your being handcuffed and fed Swedish sandwich cake!

    • Hélène

    A humble suggestion for “wolfing down”: “engloutir”.
    Also, I know the looks you’re talking about when asking for “carvi”: I come from Alsace, where it is often used (great with a slice of Munster cheese) and very easy to find, but I could never find it anywhere else in France (nor in Belgium, where I now live).
    Thanks for all the great recipes, and have a nice end of summer!

    • Barbara

    Oh Patty Melts are my favorite!

    My pet peeve however is most everywhere you find them the burger is round, the bread oblong, and when served cut there’s a very small piece of burger in one half and a larger piece in the other – but both sides have a big excess of bread since the burger didn’t fit it to begin with. I always wonder why places that make their own patties can’t make one to fit the bread?

    Regardless: yum!

    • Finla

    Wowo love the idea and it looks so good.

    • Lynn

    I grew up in a small town, where there wasn’t a lot of eating out. So when I started dating a “college boy” (around 1971, later became my husband), he introduced me to all sorts of new foods in the city. The patty melt was one of them. I had one as a late night snack one night and was over the moon. I made one for my mom when I was home and still laugh at how delicious she agreed it was, all the while admonishing me not to eat such high calorie foods in the future. She was right, but it’s hard to resist something as delicious as that. Yours looks extra good!

    • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Ahhhh, New Jersey diner food! I used to eat a lot of these during my high school years, when hanging out at the local 24/7 dinner was the best thing going in our town.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Parisbr: I was there a while back and while I loved the concept, my sandwich wasn’t all that I hoped it would be.

    Lydia: Let’s here it for diner food! : )

    Alec: What is this ‘Franprix’ that you speak of? It is some wondrous, magical place where foods from around the world convene? Or…

    Hélène: When I was looking it up to write about it, I saw that in France it’s sometimes called anis des Vosges (or cumin.) I think it’s a wonderful seasoning..and yet another reason to visit Alsace.

    Lynn: It’s certainly not in the category of “diet food” – but on the other hand, you can make it with pretty good, natural ingredients (fresh bread, good beef, cheese, etc.) and I don’t think having one every once in a while is a bad thing..

    • Allyn

    Oh my goodness, patty melts are the best wicked sandwich indulgence ever! My mother loved patty melts and introduced me to them many decades ago. You rarely see patty melts on a restaurant menu, but I always order one if I see it. There’s no reason why I couldn’t make my own, through, and seeing your recipe in print could be just the motivation I need to do so!!

    • Linda Branagan

    Amazing! I was flipping through the new Williams Sonama catalog just last night which had a recipe for a Reuben and I got a craving for a patty melt which was a childhood favorite.
    Linda Branagan

    • Pat Kogan

    Talk about synchronicity…I’m an ex -NY expat living in Paris and have been craving burgers for the last few weeks. Dreaming of US- style barbecues and unsuccessfully trying to make a burger that I like using the buns I could find here using my broiler. This looks like it could deliciously solve both problems (buns and cooking method) so can’t wait to try it..AND you gave a tip for a favorite burger place too! Thanks!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      The ground meat in Paris is very lean and you really need to watch the meat really (really) carefully as it’s so easy to overcook it. I’ve heard some butchers will grind extra fat into ground beef if you ask, but I’ve not done that. The supermarket buns are awful, but some of the bakeries, like Gontran Cherrier (I think) makes hamburger buns, or you could get brioche and griddle those. Good luck!

    • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes

    Who can say no to a burger with crunchy fried bread? I´m one who loves caraway bread, which is always better with mustard, and the way you describe how it´s exclusive in this recipe leaves no alternative but to make a patty melt and see what it´s all about. The name is very unappetizing btw, and kinda funny for those of us who speak ESL. I bet pastrami is a good option too, especially now that I´ve learned to make it at home.

    • Ronica

    These are my favorite, especially served at a diner with a cup of black coffee in a thick mug, and thick cut french fries, followed by pie (if I’m wearing my stretchy pants.) Thank you for trying to introduce it to the French! They’ll figure it out (in about thirty years.)

    • ClaireD

    It’s 7:50 am in Austin and I’m salivating for a Patty Melt! I also almost cried when I saw the jar of Edmond Fallot mustard, my very favorite, which I have to buy from Amazon at $11/ea. plus shipping because none of the stores in Austin (not Whole Foods, Central Market, World Market) carry it. I’m hoping when Trader Joe’s opens in September that perhaps they will carry it. Ahhhhh….Patty Melt. YUM!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Last time I was Central Market, they were carrying it there and it was reasonably priced, too. Trader Joe’s carries their own brand of Dijon mustard, which isn’t bad. But it’s not quite the same.

        • Jean

        I’m at Central Market south right now and there are eight varieties available. I’m going to have a patty melt for dinner tonight – thanks for the reminder of how good they are!

    • Agnieszka

    This reminds me of a sandwich we would make in Poland, where I grew up, of a leftover “schabowy” (a pork schnitzel), which would get nestled in between two buttered slices of fresh bread or a bun. That’s it. No condiments. It was all about the meat, so long as the schabowy was done right, tender and juicy. Me thinks these sautéed onions would go so well with the rest of the party… I must try it on my American husband!

    • Ruth in London

    If it’s possible to improve in this … the only subsititue I’d make is Mayo instead of butter! David I love your blog. Howled with laughter over the Courant d’Air. As an Irish ex-pat I can tell you this: Irish mothers are diametrically opposed to the French they are obsessed with opening windows even when it’s below zero outside in case it gets a bit ‘stuffy’ – it’s one of the reasons I live in London!

    • Angela

    I think you really have to be born and raised in the US to understand the Patty Melt….having lived eight years in L.A. and spending lots of time there every year, I still don’t get it….not something I’ll be putting on my super club menus for my French friends I’m afraid!

    • Joanna

    There’s a kosher bakery in the Marais. They don’t sell good Jewish rye? Look at it this way…people mail-order from Poilane. You could mail-order from Zabar’s!

    • Hampton

    Ooooh. I am going to Toojays for lunch and have one. Inspiration.!
    Does anyone remember Rubens on 58th st…overstuffed sandwiches at 3 am after a nite of disco. In Paris want a patty melt….Joe Allen’s or the Hilton…

    • Melanie Legault

    I haven’t craved beef in a long, long time until I saw these beautiful photos of my former favorite comfort food. I want to grab that patty melt right off the screen. It looks oh so gooood!

    • Nancy@acommunaltable

    It’s really unfair of you to post such mouth watering recipes before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee in the morning!:-)… and your shot of a “frenchman wolfing down a patty melt” is fabulous – you nailed it!
    I think I have an explanation for your cravings – you mentioned that you’d been working on a major project, no? Well, that explains it! The creative process can generate intense food cravings… with pregnant women being the most commonly referred to example.
    So, David the question is.. “when is your due date??” (AKA, when can I get my hands on whatever you are working on???))

    • Laura Thompson

    Looks delicious! I had a comfort food binge last night and made Sloppy Joes with peppers and onions…sooooo good!

    Now, maybe it’s a regional thing but the Patty Melt I’ve eaten has sauerkraut in it, not fried onions. Same all the way, but sauerkraut. Mind you this was the Fairfax district in West Hollywood…but they called it a Patty Melt and that’s how I grew up making them. And still do. Very tasty…

    • Judith Klinger

    Patty melts are a New York thing? Something your mother made you? More important, the cast iron pan. Did you get that over here? (Here means Europe BTW) I miss mine soooo bad…and they’re too heavy to come over in the luggage.
    Enjoy that patty melt and psssst…..the tomatoes are really good now…craving a BLT??

    • Jennymoomeow

    I love a good patty melt. There is one burger joint in Reno that adds sauerkraut to the grilled onions and uses pepperjack cheese instead of Swiss. I love it, love it, love it! Just sharing the idea for other lovers.

    • Siobhan

    David, I was wondering whether studding the burger itself with some caraway seeds might help offset the loss of them in the local bread. (I, too, have not seen such a rye here in central France. I confess I typically put my burgers here on toasted English muffins!)

    • Susan

    I just made a patty melt for dinner a couple of weeks ago when I happened to have some good extra sour Jewish rye on hand (which I also love as simple buttered toast in the morning). The caraway seed’s flavor just bursts when the buttered bread is fried in the pan. It absolutely makes the sandwich. Don’t forget to serve it with a good spicy dill pickle!

    • Bill

    The Platonic ideal of a patty melt. I want this now! It’s nearly impossible to find rye bread here in Dublin, much less rye with caraway seeds. Must keep looking.

    • Shannon

    Wow, this looks amazing! I love patty melts. Those grilled onions look delicious.

    • Kaelsma

    I am a sucker for a good Patty Melt.

    • Carol Lincoln

    Hmmmmm yum yum hmmmm drooooool I’m sitting here hungry in peace planning on enjoying your blog as always then you hit me with heaven between bread. Now nothing will salve my craving but Im not going to be able to sort it until the weekend……argh…..!!!!

    • martinn@keytoparis

    For once I disagree with you. Tried the new “Big Fernand” on rue Leopold Bellan a week or 2 ago. I had heard so many good things about them. Well recipes are blending the Hamburger and French cultures such as lamb and figs, but it was not that tasty, overcooked and full of fat.
    Was not impressed at all. Would rather go to Blend on rue d’Argout or Frenchie to go on rue du Nil.
    Love the Fallot mustard to be found in G. Detou rue Tiquetonne (among other addresses).

    • philadelphie

    I will be making these tomorrow for my french family, merci daveed!!

    • BelleD

    Why does one even need ‘get’ the patty melt? I means what’s not to love:
    melty, oozing cheese
    sweet griddled onions
    juicy properly cooked beef patty
    crispy buttered rye bread

    Is it the rye bread that throws some folks?

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Slobhan: English muffins are great buns for burgers – they do them that way at Prune in New York.

    Judith: I brought my cast iron skillet from the US. The cast iron pans that you find here are thinner and have wire handles, making them lighter (I guess) but I like the heft of there. A reader on my Facebook page said that Norms in Southern California invented the Patty Melt although according to their menu, they use American cheese.

    martinn: I’ve only been to their original location, not the new one. But one thing that I’ve noticed that’s plaguing certain burger places in Paris is the cook pressing down firmly on the burgers to cook them, which – of course – makes all the juice run out of the patty and onto the grill. I think they do it to speed it up, but curiously, for a country of people that like rare beef, often burger are served well-cooked. (I’ve been to Blend but I find their sauces quite sweet and their ordering system needs an overhaul – you have to get seated by the hostess, then waited on. Then they put in your order, and the dining room staff stands there waiting for the order come out, then they bring it to you. It’s not really efficient and hence the waiting times can be long to eat there.)

    • ClaireD

    Jean, where is the mustard located? With other mustards? I was in Central Market Westgate on Saturday and not a single Edmond Fallot mustard was in sight. Thanks for the head’s up! – Claire

    • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    Omg looks amazing. Would prob sub some aged white cheddar in that but the onions are a good call.

    • Judith W

    David, We always have the butcher grind extra fat into our beef for our annual cheeseburger party in Provence. I specifiy 20% gras and have the meat ground the same day of the party. Our butcher is quite amused and always asks about the burgers the next time I see him. And these hamburgers, cooked medium rare, are very, very good. Now, if I could just find a decent bun in our rural area.

    • Axelle the french cook

    I ate thousand sandwiches like this one when I was student ! I WANT IT RIGHT NOW !!! Life is so unfair !

    • ItalianGirlCooks

    Yum…just the way I like them. Comfort food that’s quick and easy to make!

    • Dee

    Perhaps it’s just where I live (PNW), but the Patty Melts I’ve been privy to ALWAYS have 1000island dressing in them, as opposed to mustard. It was what sold me on the idea of a patty melt at the tender age of 3 at Plush Pippin restaurant. Mmmm!

    • Lynn loring

    Just add sauerkraut and thousand island dressing and you have a Rueben sandwich

    • Jean

    ClaireD – The nine varieties of Edmond Fallot mustard are with the other mustards at Central Market Westgate. The eight varieties in glass jars include tarragon, basil, Dijon, and walnut (that’s all I can remember; I bought both the Dijon and the walnut); the ninth (stoneground, in a pottery jar) is a row or two lower. They may have just re-stocked them, as they were pushing into another brand’s space. Hope this helps!

    • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    Given the option when at a burger joint, this is always my first pick. It’s those onions…or is it the rye bread or…well, who cares. I love them. I’m good with Dijon but sometimes use some horseradish with mayo. Um, um good!

    • Rose

    David, could you lightly sprinkle caraway seeds on the cheese & get the same taste as seeded bread? That wouldn’t look as odd as imbedding seeds in the bread:)

    • Ellen Schultz

    I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and never heard of a patty melt until I moved to LA in the 80s. Every cafe and diner served them. When I moved back to NYC seven years later I still never saw patty melts on the menus of diners, etc. I’m assuming they are now, but I’ve never ordered one. My question is for New Yorkers. Were patty melts a big thing here and I missed them?

    • ClaireD

    Jean, a huge thank you! I’m headed there after work. I have had to buy E.F. mustard from Amazon and the cost has been killing me! I usually only get the dijon but may have to try the tarragon and walnut. You’re a life saver! thanks so much! Claire

    • Cathy K

    I too am a big fan of the patty melt. I have also enjoyed it with marble rye bread. Yum!

    • Sinead

    Yum! Can’t beat a good sandwich :-)

    • Meg H.

    Patty Melts are my most favorite burgers! The rye bread is key – and the onions and melty Swiss cheese make it so drippin’ good! I’ve never thought to make them at home – always a diner food. But maybe this weekend – I’ll try.

    • Linda Schiffer

    Hi David,
    It’s such a coincidence I woke up craving a meatball grinder today when you were writing about them. Weird. Do you also remember they called the cheese scamorza in CT? I wonder if there is a difference between that and mozzarella? Tasted the same to me. I defrosted some meatballs last night and I’m off to make my sandwich. Too bad I don’t have any crusty bread, though. Thanks again for the fun!

    • irina

    I use deBuyer pan instead of cast iron. Works fine.

    • Janet B

    Oh, there is nothing like a patty melt! I’ve been places where they subbed sourdough or something else for the rye, and that is just wrong. MMm, now I need one.

    • Poornima

    This looked so delicious. Unfortunately I am a vegetarian,but not to be left out I boiled potatoes fried onions spiced it really well then made it with cheese and YUM! Thanks David and you make me smile every time you post……

    • Marcia

    I got the E.F. mustard here in Vancouver, Canada at a discount food store for about $4.00.

    Having never seen it, I thought I was getting an inferior product. It must have been okay. I used it.

    I see how uneducated I was. Will have to go back and see if they still have it.

    Enjoy reading you immensely.

    • Kiki

    David, I just realise that I haven’t heard that word caraway since I left England, but when visiting Germany or German health food stores, I have found the type of Rye bread with seeds I love so much.
    Could it be that caraway is what I call my ‘wild fennel’`? I have plants in my garden and love them – they go into my flower bouquets, on top of salads, and the seeds (which are really fruits) go in anything (or nearly)…. Funny enough, I don’t like cumin but I very much like these seeds. Must be just me :)
    We had this kind of sandwiches way before I knew what a hamburger was! Just two buttered and pan-fried slices of rye bread with softly grilled onions (I like adding some Balsamico vinegar), any green leaves (preferably ruccola/ rocket) and some mustard. mmmh – photos of greaseless true beauty!

    • CR

    It’s not the same, but what about a cheese with some caraway seeds?

    • Kathy D.

    About a month ago, I had the same craving….after reading Ree Drummond’s post on the patty melt. So I HAD to have one, and I made one, and it was gone in a flash. Now I am going to say something sacrilegious to all those who worship at the altar of expensive French food. I LOVE the “premier prix” (budget) mustard you can buy in the supermarket in France for about 1,10€ for 850 gr (about 30 fl. oz.). It makes your nose run and clears your sinuses. And if you have a sore muscle, you can rub some on it and cover it with a warm cloth and voilà! Maybe it’s because I’m old and losing my sense of taste…I don’t know…but nothing else tastes as good to me. And if I don’t take it back to the US with me, there is no way to find anything like it over there.

    Of course, I also love “la moutarde de Charroux”, which is a specialty here in Auvergne: I recommend it to everyone.

    • leslie

    You inspired me and I made them for lunch. They were excellent. Love your posts.

    • Carol

    Wow that looks good! I guess my next project needs to be a gluten free mock rye so I can try one of these…

    • Malcolm

    Hi David,

    Love the blog, having been both a one time resident of Paris, and also worked in its kitchens. But David, really, this is just a heart attack on a plate. It puts me in mind of the new word I have recently been introduced to, obesegenic.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Really? I find the ingredients fairly wholesome – bread, meat, cheese, butter, and onions. Nothing is “over-the-top”-sized and not much different than a regular bacon cheeseburger – which I treat myself to a couple of times a year. For those concerned about calories, one could split a sandwich and serve the halves with a cabbage-carrot salad with a vinegar-based dressing and fresh herbs, or garlic.

    • Jennifer S

    OOH Patty melts… originally from Buffalo, NY and I diners’ had them everywhere… I’ll have to make one… Of course not the best thing to eat every week… but maybe once or twice a year to satisfy a craving… Thanks for reminding me I need one!
    – Jen

    • Julie Dufaj

    I have been grinding top round beef (very lean) in my food processor (only takes a few pulses) and then making patties. The trick for the juiciest hamburger is to handle very gently and shape the patties only until they just hold together. And, of course, once in the pan, one should not touch them until they are ready to turn. Voila! The juiciest and most tender hamburgers ever! And you know exactly what’s in the grind.

    • Inda Roddy

    I am having Jewish rye envy. I understand the random food cravings only too well. I moved from Boston to rural Ireland and the only caraway seeds in sight are the ones I put in my own soda bread. There are a few Polish bakeries that do something close but it’s just not the same thing. What I wouldn’t give for a marble rye. Sighhhh…

    • JoAnn

    Sweet jesus. Yum. I’m a “patty melt girl”, which is a term we use around the house. I’m married twenty years and on my honeymoon I ordered a patty melt at a diner. My husband said that his father always said that a girl who ordered a patty melt was a certain type of girl. For years I gave it no thought. The subject came up again and I was able to surmise that his father thinks that girls who like patty melts are high maintenance – a regular burger just isn’t good enough for them. I am proud to be a “patty melt girl”. Yours look divine, Daveed.

    • Kathy D.

    OK….that does it! I thought I could get past this, but ever since I read the post and saw the pictures, I can’t get rid of the craving. So now I have to haul myself off and find either some rye bread or some caraway seed (I have rye flour). I thought the one I ate 3 months ago would hold me for a while. I’m really curious what other French people’s reaction would be to it.

    • Niely

    @Linda Schiffer,
    scarmorza is smoked mozzarella.

      • Kathy D.

      @Niely….not always smoked, but really good…like a superior mozzarella. I’ve only had it once:

    • Adri

    My husband loves a good Patty Melt. It is one of his favorite sandwiches. This one looks great. Bart would love it. I am certain. He’s terribly picky about the onions – they must be well caramelized or he gets terribly disappointed! Thanks for a great dinner idea.

    • tim

    Try this for your next burger. Do 60 percent beef and 40 percent bacon ground.
    There will be no flair ups on girls and pair it with pickled onions. Make some type of chipotle mayo for the bottom.

    • Parisbreakfast

    I found Carvi at my Franprix. Ducros makes it. An Alsacian chef said I needed it plus miel de Sapin for the choucroute cru. The miel de Sapin was the toughie to find and by the time I did the choucroute was fini.

    • Jeanne

    Your patty melt started me craving for spicy Indian potatoes I make at home, so I set off in search of black mustard and caraway seed this morning. Found the mustard, but nobody seemed to have any idea of what I meant by caraway seed.
    I have just arrived in Paris for three months, am in the 11th…am also in search of a really good baguette…give us this day our daily bread has a really empty ring to it.
    Hope someone can point me in the right direction. J

      • Kiki

      @ Jeanne:
      Around the métro station Ledru-Rollin there are quite a few wonderful bakeries, most of them probably on their annual leave…. I’m not regularly at the same place any more, but I often popped into one rather lateish in the evening (after 7.20pm) nearly across the (excellent!) Bistrot Le Peintre with wonderful baguettes. Another very good bakery (expensive) is at the beginning of the Marché Alligre with tons of specialty breads, and yet another one we like is along the marché starting (both) from St-Antoine on the right hand side, a Boulangerie Algérienne…. So God (or rather yourself) will provide you with your daily good bread. Enjoy your stay….

    • Carol S.

    I am with you 100% on the caraway seeds. It is not real rye bread unless it has caraway seeds. Edmond Fallot is an amazing mustard. I like the smooth Dijon.

    • pat barford

    Have made these three nights in a row since reading this post. They are fabulous! An immediate hit with the family from the rather picky ten-year old girl to the always ravenous 19 year male. Include parents and everyone’s happy. They’re also simple enough to always have the ingredients on hand and something that everyone can make. I’m working hard to come up with recipes that take the pressure off me to handle all the meals. This does it nicely, so thank you, thank you.

    • Rus Franswick

    Have bought the Fallot mustard a couple of times at Homegoods, the upscale home-oriented sibling of T.J. Maxx. Got some yesterday, the kind with basil in it, for a mere $3.99. I got a big jar there that’s waiting for some special occasion to be opened.

    • Recetas cocina

    Un post fantastico!!

    • The Kitchen Magpie

    Oh my, Now I want this as my midnight snack…..

    • Corrie

    We are very lucky to be able to get “Jewish” style rye bread with caraway seeds here in Oz. I love the description of the bread being barely able to hold everything together and can just imagine having to almost lick my elbows clean….. This is a dish I have often made (or at least very similar using mayo as well) and now have that craving feeling. D’oh!!! I’ll just have to have one, or two……. :-)

    • Sharon

    You are making me hungry-this sounds delicious!

    • Jan Janzen

    Mmm, mmm, mmm – love the Patty Melt! I know the French ground beef is very lean; how about incorporating a bit of melted fat into the beef before you form the patties? I make a burger on the grill which calls for crumbled bread soaked in milk, then mixed with a bit of melted bacon grease. The bread helps bind the beef so it won’t fall apart on the grill. With a patty melt, you wouldn’t be using a barbecue grill, which would make the bread unnecessary.

    • MaryAlice

    I’ve made my Jewish rye bread, a recipe from the blog “A Bread a Day”. It is very good, and now I’m going into town to get hamburger and cheese. The sandwich is a very long tease.

      • Kathy D.

      Me too. Made my bread from a recipe on Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen, and it is delicious. Made the sandwich…..ate it. It was delicious. Now I’m OK. Until next time.

    • lucy

    When I was thin, many years ago, I ate patty melts regularly at Hamburger Hamlet in LA, followed by a tin roof sundae–hot fudge sundae topped with peanuts. But that was when I was thin. Sooo good.
    And your patty melt sounds great, David. I may have to go back to it.
    Thanks for your great and funny blog. Read it regularly and send it out to all my friends.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I loved Hamburger Hamlet! (I assume it’s not longer around?) What a great place. And yes, those were the days : )

    • lagatta à montréal

    David, Kaffeehaus in the 17th should have Kümmelbrot: That is real heavy Central European bread though, serious “staff of life” stuff, not its American Jewish descendant that is often a light rye.

    I wonder if they’d have anything at the Tante-Emma-Laden in the 10th… They don’t state “bread” on their site, but they might have some of that packaged German Kümmelbrot, which can be good and more similar to what you are seeking.

    I’ve never seen anything like it in the Marais, or the Jewish neighbourhood in the 19th, which is more Sephardic in any case. I have a friend originally from Toronto who lives around there; he is of Polish-Jewish descent and might know.

    I’ve never eaten a patty melt. It does look good.

    • Michael Duffy

    Pregnant. That’s where those urges come from. You must be pregnant.

    • kyle

    love the cast iron pan. i’ve been trying to find one in paris (just moved here recently from nyc). can’t find anything like a cheap lodge-brand in the US. any suggestions for shopping? loving your blog!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I bought mine in the states and carried it over. Don’t know where to get them in France. You might want to try mail-ordering one from an outfit in the UK perhaps.

      • Kathy D.

      @Kyle. My only suggestion is to go either to some brocantes, or to Emmaüs. I brought my cast iron skillets with me from the US, but also found an old Le Creuset Cousances 23 cm black cast iron skillet at a brocante. Someone who didn’t know its value sold it to me for 1,80€! I have the feeling that the French have not caught on to the cast iron pan thing, because I have often seen various pieces at Emmaüs.

    • Cam

    If you’re still looking for rye bread in Paris, I’m pretty sure you can get it at La Boutique Jaune on rue des Rosiers. Their website says it’s “pain au cumin”, but it looks and tastes pretty much like the rye bread I remember.

    • Kathy D.

    I just looked at the website for La Boutique Jaune. Great suggestion!

    • debra swingholm.

    when we lived in Geneve–i found that the seeds they sold in the spice section labeled “kumin” are NOT cumin–they are caraway!!!

    That was about ten years ago–perhaps it’s still the same?

    Love your blog, btw. We miss living in Europe:(


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