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Playing Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Patty Melts


  • 1/2 pound broccoli rabe
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork, chicken or turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, half a palmful
  • 1 small chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped or 1 teaspoon chili flakes or Italian ground chilies
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated or pasted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely grated onion with juice
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, a scant palmful
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano, a rounded handful
  • EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for liberal drizzling
  • 8 slices hand-cut white bread, no more than 1/2-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped giardiniera (hot pickled vegetables)
  • 8 deli slices provolone cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely grated onion with juice


Serves: 4


Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it. Blanch the broccoli rabe for 5 minutes, drain and cool. Finely chop and reserve.

Place ground meat in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, fennel, chili, garlic, onion and juice, paprika, Romano, chopped rabe and a healthy drizzle of EVOO, twice around the bowl. Mix and form 4 large, thin patties about a half-inch thick.

Heat a griddle or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Cook patties 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove to plate. Reduce heat to medium. Wipe pan clean.

Brush bread on one side with melted butter. Build patty melts: a slice of bread with buttered side facing out, some relish, 1 slice of cheese, patty, another slice of cheese and bread with the buttered side facing up. Grill patty melts until deeply golden on both sides and cheese has melted. Cut patty melts corner to corner and serve.