Cast Iron

Kofte Patty Melt With Turmeric-Pickled Cauliflower

September 28, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Lauren Lapenna.
Author Notes

There is something magical about a patty melt. Buttery, golden bread. Ooey, gooey cheese. Unctuous, jammy caramelized onions. And a thin, succulent, smash-burger-style beef patty. Each bite is crunchy, melty, and juicy all at once. (Is your mouth watering? Mine is.) This recipe combines the beauty of a patty melt with the deliciousness of a lamb kofte wrap. Ground lamb is combined with toasted, ground fennel seeds, fresh herbs, and serrano chile, then formed into patties and griddled until the Maillard reaction kicks in. If you wanted to go the extra mile and grill the patties on an actual grill, that would really take these babies over the top. Instead of caramelized onions, these sandwiches are layered with quick-pickled cauliflower flavored with turmeric, lending an earthy, almost-citrusy flavor. The acidity of the pickles works wonders, cutting through the gaminess of the lamb and providing a foil for the rich cheese.

This recipe will make more cauliflower pickles than you need. Keep them in the fridge for up to 1 month and put toward more patty melts, veggie sandwiches, or salads in need of some punch. I like using ghee to grill my sandwiches, but feel free to use more mayonnaise on the outside of the bread or softened unsalted butter, if that floats your boat. Whatever you do, make sure to grill low ‘n’ slow, so the cheese has time to melt and the bread doesn’t get too brown. —Asha Loupy

Test Kitchen Notes

Head here to check out Diaspora Co.’s single-origin spices in the Food52 Shop. —The Editors

  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • Turmeric-Pickled Cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Diaspora Co. Pragati Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole Diaspora Co. Nandini Coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, broken into large florets and very thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • Patty Melt
  • 1 tablespoon whole Diaspora Co. Nagauri Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon whole Diaspora Co. Nandini Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or 80/20 ground beef)
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and grated
  • 1 serrano chile, minced or finely grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Ghee, at room temperature, for spreading
  • 8 slices sandwich bread, such as white, rye or sourdough
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
  • 8 slices mild, meltable cheese, like Havarti, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. For the pickled cauliflower, combine all of the ingredients except for the cauliflower in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warmed through and the sugar and salt are dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit at room temperature until just warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the cauliflower in a glass quart jar (or another tall vessel). Stir the warm brine to make sure the turmeric is evenly distributed, pour it over the cauliflower, and gently stir so all the cauliflower is submerged in the liquid. Let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. (You can also prepare this the day before, let it come to room temperature after adding the liquid, cover, and then refrigerate overnight.)
  3. For the kofte patties, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, and peppercorns and dry toast, stirring occasionally, until the seeds start to turn golden and become fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then grind into a medium-coarse powder.
  4. Add the ground spices, lamb, shallot, serrano, cilantro, mint, and salt to a large bowl. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Divide into 4 equal portions and form each portion into a thin patty, slightly larger than the bread you’re using.
  5. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 2 patties at a time, until both sides are deeply caramelized and the meat is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and repeat with the remaining patties. Turn off the heat under the pan and wipe it clean, but leave it on the stove for grilling the sandwiches.
  6. Heat the oven to 300°F and place a sheet pan on the center rack.
  7. To assemble, spread a thin layer of ghee on the bottom of 1 slice of bread and place on the cutting board, ghee side down. Then, spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise on the top of the bread, top with a layer of the cauliflower pickle (drained off any pickling liquid). Top with a slice of cheese, a kofte patty, and then another slice of cheese. Top the sandwich with a second slice of bread, spread the top with ghee, and sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat the assembling process with the remaining 3 sandwiches.
  8. Turn on the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Add 2 sandwiches salted side down to the warm pan. Using a spatula, gently press down on the sandwiches (a burger press also works wonders here). Cover the skillet and cook until the bottom is deeply golden and the cheese is starting to melt, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover, flip, and repeat on the other side until the cheese is completely melted, another 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Transfer the cooked sandwiches to the sheet pan in the oven to keep warm while you grill the remaining 2 sandwiches.
  10. Slice on the diagonal and serve hot with extra cauliflower pickles on the side.

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