Spiedini Alla Romano Image Used Under Creative Commons License From Pinterest.com
Citizens, there are few things more satisfying to the soul than a perfectly-made grilled cheese sandwich – it is comfort food of the finest form!
Grilled cheese achieves perhaps its apotheosis and epiphany thanks to the citizens of the ancient city of Rome, in the form of Spiedini alla Romana. Here, melting buffalo mozzarella meets bread in a marriage truly made in heaven, sparked up by a delicious anchovy and herb combination that lights up your tastebuds in fireworks of flavor!
When most people hear the word “Spiedini”, they assume it refers to skewered roasted meats. However, the term actually refers to the skewers amd these mini sandwiches are indeed skewered!
My version batters the sandwich for a crackling crunch and has a truly stellar sauce for dipping each bite into, as opposed to simply layering the anchovies and herbs into the sandwich.
Try this Italian sandwich and I promise you’ll never look at grilled cheese the same way again, Citizens! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
For the batter:
⅓ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
For the sandwiches:
8 ½-inch-thick slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
1 ball buffalo mozzarella (about 8 ounces)
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 halved garlic cloves
For the anchovy sauce:
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped – TFD recommends Ortiz brand
½ cup loosely packed parsley leaves
½ cup loosely packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons roughly chopped dill
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup white wine
¾ cups chicken stock
8 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (divided) butter
2 tablespoon tiny nonpareil capers, drained
1 tablespoon caper liquid
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
In a small sauté pan, heat the 2 teaspoon of butter over medium heat. When it sizzles, add shallots and cook about 2 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Add anchovies and rub into the shallots with the back of a fork. Stir about 1 minute.
Add wine and cook about 30 seconds, until heated through.
Add chicken stock, increase heat to medium-high, bring sauce to a boil, and cook rapidly 1 minute.
Reduce heat to medium and add remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking the sauce after each addition until it thickens and all the butter is incorporated.
Stir in capers, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer contents of pan to a blender and process to smooth. Set aside, covered, to keep warm.
Make the batter: In a food processor, combine the milk, eggs and Parmesan cheese and process until smooth. Transfer the batter to a shallow dish and set aside.
Make the sandwiches: Tear the mozzarella into four even pieces. Transfer the cheese to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and allow it to drain for a few minutes.
Very lightly toast bread slices in a toaster. While still warm, rub both sides with the remaining 4 garlic halves. Set aside.
Divide the mozzarella evenly over four slices of the bread, top each slice with some of the anchovies, and cover with the remaining bread slices to make 4 sandwiches. Using a sharp knife, cut each sandwich in half.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one sandwich at time, dredge both sides in the batter, allowing any excess to drip off. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes per side.
Remove the sandwiches from the skillet, skewer them with toothpicks (it’s not a Spiedino without a skewer!) and divide between four plates. Serve with the anchovy sauce on the side for dipping or lightly drizzled on top.