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  • 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup toasted fresh bread crumbs
  • eight 1/4-inch-thick slices of Italian bread
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons anchovy paste, or to taste
  • 1/4 pound whole-milk buffalo mozzarella, cut into four 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon drained bottled green peppercorns (available at specialty food shops)
  • finely chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish.

METHOD: In a bowl whisk together the egg and the milk and transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl. Put the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Spread the bread slices with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the anchovy paste, put 1 slice of the buffalo mozzarella on each of 4 bread slices and top the mozzarella with the remaining bread slices, forming sandwiches. Working with 1 sandwich at a time, dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, and coat them with the bread crumbs. In a large heavy skillet heat the oil and the butter over moderately high heat until the fat is hot but not smoking and in the fat sauté the sandwiches, turning them and gently flattening them with a spatula, for 6 minutes, or until the mozzarella is melted and the bread is golden. Divide the sandwiches between 2 heated plates and keep them warm. To the skillet add the lemon juice, the tomato, the green peppercorns, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste, and salt and black pepper to taste and cook the mixture over high heat, whisking, until it is heated through. Spoon the sauce over the sandwiches and sprinkle the sandwiches with the parsley. Serves 2 as a first course.