Caramelized onion and provolone cheese sandwich

Soft buttery provolone cheese pairs nicely with caramelized onions for a delicious sandwich.

Grilled Shane
Caramelized onion and provolone cheese sandwich.

After pushing the envelope of what a grilled cheese can be, I decided to tone it down a bit and make a somewhat standard grilled cheese sandwich, featuring caramelized onions. The caramelizing process is an easy one, as long as you make sure not to burn the onions (especially the small pieces). This time, I used white onions.

Caramelized grilled cheese sandwich
Caramelized Onions
Provolone (Grande Provonello)
Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Bread
[Editor's note: Assemble onions and cheese on slices of bread and bake in a warm oven until the cheese melts.]

The cheese: provolone (grande provonello)

Provolone is the beautiful cheese you often see strung up with twine and hung from the ceiling of Italian food shops. But what is it? Imagine Mozzarella – with a much fuller flavour.

Like Mozzarella, Provolone comes from the family of pasta filata cheeses. Italian for “spun paste,” pasta filata cheeses are pulled-curd cheeses mixed with heated whey, then kneaded and stretched to a wonderfully pliable consistency.

So what makes Provolone different from other pasta filata cheeses like Mozzarella or Caciocavallo? Aging ability.

Molded into fanciful shapes, wrapped up in cords, and hung to ripen, Provolone develops an oily, golden brown rind. As it ages, the cheese becomes richer in yellow colour, firmer in texture, and more pronounced in flavour. (

Prior to eating this particular variety of Provolone cheese, I had no strong feelings either way towards provolone. However, after eating this provolone cheese, that was soft and buttery, I realized how good Provolone cheese could be.


My local market recently introduced “bread for 2,” which worked perfectly for this sandwich. I went and chose the sun-dried tomato parmesan as it sounded like something different. Cut it horizontally down the middle and vertically in half and you have two mini-sandwiches. In the future, this loaf of bread may be too small, but it worked well for this sandwich. Plus, the bread added a great flavor to the sandwich.

Grade: A

After such a unique grilled cheese sandwich the week prior, it was nice to come back to a simple yet tasty grilled cheese. I recently had caramelized onions on a wood fired pizza, and have become somewhat obsessed with them. They worked perfectly on this grilled cheese, along with the provolone and yummy sun-dried tomato parmesan bread.

Shane Kearns blogs at Grilled Shane.

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