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Form the beef into 4 oblong patties (sized to fit the bread slices); season with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasonings. Fry or broil to desired degree of doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-well.
Place a patty on each of 4 slices of bread; divide the onions over each patty, then top with cheese slices. Close the sandwich. Lightly brush butter on the outside of the bread; sprinkle both sides with the Parmesan cheese.
Heat a skillet over medium heat; lightly brush with olive oil; place sandwich into the skillet and cook until nicely browned; flip and repeat with the other side.
*To caramelize the onions, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter together in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When melted, add the onions and stir well. Once the onions start to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly cook the onions to a deep brown, stirring occasionally (about 15 - 20 minutes). Keep the heat fairly low to keep the onions from burning. The slow cooking helps them develop a deep sweet flavor.
I love a good patty melt. The combination of a perfectly cooked burger, topped with sweet caramelized onions and melted cheese on crisp rye bread is just so lovely.
Not having access to great rye bread here in northern California inspired these Patty Melts with an Italian Twist. Unless I make my own, as I did in this recipe for A Quick No-Knead Crusty Rye Bread, I can’t find decent rye bread, so why fight city hall. I decided to try to obtain the same wonderfulness with what I have readily available. So I put together Italian bread with some good Italian Fontina cheese along with the beautifully caramelized onions, to see how that worked out.
It worked out well. Very well.
This is the beauty of cooking at home, being able to make things the same, yet different, using the same basic principles. Feel free to make this patty melt with whatever cheese you love the best. And bread. You could even add some sautéed mushrooms…if you must 🙂
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