About this recipe:This classic Italian sandwich, which literally means ‘mozzarella in a carriage’, makes a delicious and very quick vegetarian meal. Chopped sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves enhance the flavour of the cheese, which melts on cooking to a wonderful oozing texture in the middle of the eggy bread.
8 slices close-textured white bread, cut 1 cm (½ in) thick, about 325 g (11½> oz) in total
170 g (6 oz) mozzarella cheese, grated
85 g (3 oz) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, well drained and roughly chopped
16 large fresh basil leaves
150 ml (5 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Tomato and orange salad
6 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
30 g (1 oz) stoned black olives, halved
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:10min › Ready in:25min
First make the salad. Peel and slice the oranges, working over a bowl to catch all the juice. Arrange the tomatoes and orange slices, slightly overlapping, in a shallow dish. Add the vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste to the orange juice and whisk to mix. Sprinkle this dressing over the salad. Scatter over the olives. Set aside.
Lay 4 of the slices of bread on a board or work surface. Divide the mozzarella cheese evenly among the slices. Scatter the sun-dried tomatoes on the cheese, then arrange the basil leaves over the tomatoes. Place the remaining 4 slices of bread on top and press down firmly.
Pour the milk into a shallow bowl. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently whisk together. Lay the sandwiches in the bowl, one at a time, and spoon the milk and egg mixture over so that the bread on both sides is evenly and thoroughly moistened.
Lightly grease a ridged cast-iron grill pan or griddle with 1½ tsp of the oil. Heat the pan over a moderate heat. Place 2 of the sandwiches in the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes on each side, turning carefully with 2 spatulas to hold the sandwiches together, until golden brown and crisp.
Remove the sandwiches from the pan and keep warm while cooking the other 2 sandwiches, using the remaining 1½ tsp oil. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve hot, with the tomato and orange salad.