Having an understanding of what goes into the original Jucy Lucy and what makes it so special—that the cheese goes inside the meat—is the key to moving forward and progressing the sandwich in new and unique ways. My personal Juicy Lucy turns to fish as its primary protein. In this case, walleye, the official Minnesota state fish and quite possibly the truest of all Minnesota food items (though catfish makes a good, perhaps more accessible, substitute).
Place fish into a blender and gently pulse on and off until the fish resembles ground meat. Season the ground fish with salt and pepper and separate into 8 pieces. Create 1/4-inch thick patties out of each one.
Fold the American cheese slices in half, twice making a square and stick into the middle of four of the patties gently pressing the cheese into the meat. Place the other four patties on top of the patties that have the cheese, seal the edges, and form into perfect burgers roughly 3/4-inch thick. Place into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to chill. Don't skip this.
Remove burgers from the freezer and dredge in panko. Return to freezer for another 15-30 minutes.
Add butter and oil to a large skillet medium-high high heat. Once the butter has melted and turned frothy, gently place your burgers on the pan. Cook until golden brown (3-5 minutes) and flip. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, remove from the heat, season with additional salt, and set aside to rest.
Place your burgers on the buns, add a little tartar sauce, and enjoy! Be careful before biting in, so hot cheese doesn't ooze out and hurt you.
Keane Amdahl is a veteran Twin Cities food writer and author of the new book, Lake Fish: Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish. Having currently worked as the sustainable seafood coordinator at the Minnesota Zoo, he is currently the marketing and business relations specialist with Fortune Fish Minnesota and can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @FoodStoned.