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Mozzarella in Carozza

ingredients

serves 4
200 g (7 oz) Mozzarella
4 slices, Parma ham (prosciutto), about 90 g (3 oz)
8 two-day old slices white bread, crusts removed butter for spreading
2 - 3 eggs
3 tbsp milk
vegetable oil for deep-frying
salt and pepper

tomato and pepper sauce

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 red (bell) pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
425 g (14 oz) can peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
flat-leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)

method

1. First make the sauce: fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the (bell) pepper and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree (paste), water, lemon juice and seasoning. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Cool the sauce a little, then puree or liquidize until smooth and return to a clean pan.

2. Cut the Mozzarella into four slices as large as possible; if the cheese is a square piece cut into eight slices. Trim the Parma ham (prosciutto) slices to the same size as the cheese.

3. Lightly butter the bread and use the cheese and ham to make four sandwiches, pressing the edges firmly together. If liked, they may be cut in half at this stage. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and chill.

4. Lightly beat the eggs with the milk and seasoning in a shallow dish.

5. Carefully dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture until well coated, and leave to soak for a few minutes if possible.

6. Heat the oil in a large pan or deep-frier until it just begins to smoke, or until a cube of bread browns in about 30 seconds. Fry the sandwiches in batches until golden brown on both sides. Drain well on crumpled paper towels and keep warm. Serve the sandwiches hot, with the reheated tomato and pepper sauce, and garnished with parsley.

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