One of NYC's most iconic sandwiches is the chopped cheese, a sandwich with the burger-like ingredients of ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomato, and American cheese on a hoagie bun. But don't call it a burger in front of New Yorkers because that's not what it is. The chopped cheese sandwich has been a New York staple for a long time and can be traced to Harlem in the mid-'90s.
Mashed recipe developer Patterson Watkins made a New York chopped cheese recipe that proves you don't need to visit a bodega in the Big Apple to taste New York flavors at home. The trick for an easier homemade chopped cheese, according to Watkins, is just skipping out on the chopping step. Instead, when you're making the sandwich's filling, Watkins recommends placing slices of cheese over the cooked meat and onions in the skillet and letting them melt. You might not get the same texture of melty cheese fusing bits of beef and translucent onions, but you're still staying true to New York ingredients and flavors. "Don't come for my neck NYC, there's [a] method to my madness," Watkins explained to Mashed.
Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes
This Trick Saves You From Difficult Dishwashing
Watkins calls the chopped cheese "much more than just a sandwich. It's a vibe, an experience, not quite NYC underground, but if you're in the 'know,' you know." Picture a small bodega on a street corner: It's otherwise unassuming, but locals entering and exiting with sandwiches in perfectly scrappy wrapping point to something good inside. The interior of the bodega isn't just home to typical convenience store finds — it's also a deli tucked in the back, equipped with a restaurant-grade griddle and wide, flat spatulas. These are the tools for an NYC chopped cheese. Typically, the ground beef gets chopped directly on the griddle, and the cheese and onions follow in a flurry of rapid spatula work.
As Watkins puts it, "Deli counters and bodegas have these magical griddles, perfectly seasoned after years of use (so slick and non-stick the staff gotta hold the eggs in place)." The average person's non-stick pans can't take the same beating, and like Watkins, no one wants to "scrub a cheese-crusted skillet." Admittedly, a homemade chopped cheese will never taste exactly the same as a bodega's anyway, so Watkins' trick of skipping the cheesy chopping step makes life easier for the home cook.
Read the original article on Mashed.