Venezia: Food and Dreams by Tessa Kiros, includes recipes like Spider Crab (Granseola in Bella Vista); Fried Mozzarella Toasts (Mozzarella in Carrozza); and Roasted Guinea Fowl with Peverada (Faraona Arrosto con la Salsa Peverada).
When in Venice it's great to be able to grab one of these delicious sandwiches for a snack. These are great at Rosticceria in campo San Bartolomeo—there they use tramezzini bread, which is very thin white crustless bread slices often in one long piece. When making these at home, you'll get a similar result with soft white sandwich bread. Use a small skillet that will fit two sandwiches at a time, so that you don't need too much oil. The sandwiches are dipped in a batter before frying, but I found it simple enough to just dip them in beaten egg and then bread crumbs for the crusty effect. If you like, whisk 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and 2 more tablespoons of milk into your dipping mixture, which is more how the Venetians would make this. Then you need not coat the sandwiches in flour first or in bread crumbs before you fry. These are also good without the béchamel, but then they are less creamy and soft inside. You can make the béchamel ahead of time if you like—it's fine to use cold.
For 2 mozzarella and ham sandwiches:
For 2 mozzarella and anchovy sandwiches:
To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat to low, then add half the warm milk, whisking well. Add the rest of the milk, a grating of nutmeg, and some salt. Keep whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick, then remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let stand to form up a bit. Even completely cooled, this is fine to use.
To make the dipping mixture, beat together the eggs, milk, and salt in a flat bowl.
For the mozzarella and ham sandwiches, spread 1 scant teaspoon of béchamel sauce over all 4 slices of bread, right to the edge. Lay a piece of ham and 2 or 3 slices of mozzarella onto 2 pieces of the bread so that the topping comes right to the edge. Top with the other pieces of bread to make two sandwiches and press together firmly to seal well. Heat the oil in a skillet—not too hot. Pat the sandwiches in flour, then dip in the dipping mixture to coat well. Shake them out of the mixture and let them drain off a bit, then press in the bread crumbs to coat all over. Fry in the hot oil, turning when golden and crisp on the bottom to cook the other side, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Eat warm, taking care not to burn your mouth on the hot filling.
For the mozzarella and anchovy sandwiches, spread 1 scant teaspoon of béchamel sauce over all 4 slices of bread. Dab a little anchovy paste onto each piece here and there (about 1/4 teaspoon onto each). Lay 2 or 3 slices of mozzarella onto 2 pieces of bread to come right to the edge, then top with pieces of anchovy fillet. Top with the other pieces of bread to make 2 sandwiches and press together formly to seal well. Dip in the flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then fry as above.
This page created July 2010
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