This is a family recipe of my Italian husband from Rome. It's an excellent way to use stale bread. The bread is soaked in milk, then cooked with oil in a frying pan; it's crispy on the surface but soft inside—so you eat it with a fork and knife. It's sort of savory French Toast without eggs, topped with mozzarella and anchovy.
Here I used flat leaf parsley, but other fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano and sage also work well.
To serve a crowd, you can finish the dish in 350° F (180° C) oven to melt the cheese so it's nice and bubbly. —Kyoko Ide
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a resourceful and comforting snack straight from Italy, and it's quick and easy to to boot. The fresh herbs complement the anchovies' salty and bold flavor, and the small portion is great for breaking the ice with anchovies before you commit an entire meal to them. It goes without saying that the melted cheese is also a major selling point. The bread is crisp on the outside but custardy on the inside, so that the crostini literally melt in your mouth. —Abbie C
small slices of stale bread
1/2 to 1 cups
milk (or soy milk)
slices of mozzarella cheese (to cover the bread)
Soak the bread in milk. Depending on how dry the bread is, adjust the quantity of milk and the time for soaking. If the bread is only a day or two old, 1/2 cup of milk and 5 to 10 minutes of soaking should do. If it's quite stale, it can take a few hours in a cup of milk.
Heat a frying pan on medium, add oil, and cook one side of the milk-soaked bread. When it has a nice golden color (about 2 minutes), flip the bread, top with mozzarella slices and anchovy fillets, cover, and cook until the cheese melts (2 minutes).
Sprinkle parsley, a splash of olive oil (optional), and serve.