Weeknight CookingWhat to CookItalian CookingDinner, FasterSandwichesCheese

French Toast Meets Grilled Cheese & Monday is Looking Up

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Here's the week as I see it:

Monday: Is the weekend really over?
Tuesday: Did the weekend ever exist?
Wednesday: Will the weekend ever come again?
Thursday: One day to the weekend if Friday counts.
Friday: Practically the weekend!
Saturday: [No conscious thoughts, asleep the whole time, crossing 0 things off my to-do list.]
Sunday: The weekend is almost over!!! Let the panic set in.

Mozzarella in Carrozza with Sun-Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Jam
Mozzarella in Carrozza with Sun-Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Jam

So at the end of the day on Monday, after I've spent the past twelve hours catching up on all the things I really should have done last week (sorry, bosses), I need to be kind to myself. To approach the week to come with some soft padding, to go to sleep early with a stomach full of cheese and fried bread.

Like this sandwich from mrslarkin, exactly the meal I want to cradle me as the work week approaches begins.

Mozzarella in carrozza is a cross between a grilled cheese and French toast: You'll assemble mozzarella cheese sandwiches, dip them in a mix of egg and cream (though you can use milk if you insist), then gently fry them in oil and butter until the outsides are golden-brown and the cheese has melted. (This is a great cheese pull opportunity.)


The accompanying jam is chopped in the food processor and ready in 20 minutes. Since it uses sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, it's perfectly appropriate even when tomatoes and red peppers are out of season. Make extra and spread it on sandwiches (or dollop it onto frittatas!) throughout the week.

Photo by James Ransom

How to change it up:

  • Use a mix of different kinds of cheeses: Try spreading the inside of the bread slices with goat cheese or—and this is crazy—press some finely grated Parmesan or pecorino on the outside of the sandwich after you've dipped it and before you've fried it.
  • I bet you could make this in a panini press. I bet you could waffle it. Please try!
  • Flavor the egg-and-cream mixture with dried herbs, freshly-ground black pepper, cayenne, smoked paprika...
  • Instead of serving the jam on the side, spread it over the bread before you fry it.
  • Make your jam more spicy than sweet! Add red pepper flakes or a crumbled dried ancho.
  • Or skip the jam and use pesto instead.
  • Top the sandwiches with greens and eat them with a fork and knife.
  • Or simply make a green salad with what's loitering in your refrigerator and call it a balanced meal.​
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Mozzarella in Carrozza with Sun-Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Jam

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Makes about 2 cups jam and 2 sandwiches, or cut several small squares or triangles for appetizers

For the jam:

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil and herbs, drained slightly
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, packed in water, drained slightly
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 dash salt

For the sandwiches:

  • 4 slices bread (I like Wave Hill’s small country boule)
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella, about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup cream or milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Fresh basil

What's the dinner you make when you need something to cushion the blow of the week ahead? Tell us! We hope it involves cheese.