The genesis of this dish is many things. It starts with my pet peeve of wasting bread. If you are a baker and make your own bread you know it takes time to make a good loaf. As with many breads you also know they are never as good as the first day. While I will always eat bread the second day and even the third there are time when you need to do something with the extra. This recipe is also the culmination of two culinary heroins, Lydia Bastianich, and Alice Waters. Lydia, through her books, gave me the idea long ago to make lasagna type dishes using old bread. The idea for the topping is loosely based on Alice Waters calzones from her book on pizza and pasta. You could easily go without the pancetta for a nice vegetarian or meatless Monday dish. A nicely chilled rose from Provence would just be wonderful with this. —thirschfeld
each 1/4 inch slices of ciabatta, left out a couple of hours to stale
slices prosciutto, torn in half
fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
equal parts parsley, thyme, savory, and rosemary, minced
mixed olives, drained, rinsed and coarsely, chopped
Note: I used my own home canned tomato sauce that I put a sprig of basil into before canning. If you are using regular tomato sauce you should heat it and add some salt and maybe a pinch of sugar to it depending on how acidic it is. I have also made the goat cheese optional. My wife likes the goat cheese in the dish and while I don't dislike it it does make the dish more tart.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Layer the bread out in a casserole. Pour a little tomato sauce between each layer so the bread becomes very moist with the sauce. Place a piece of prosciutto between each slice of bread. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and a sprinkle of herbs, salt and pepper.
Lay out the mozzarella slices so the top is mostly covered. Sprinkle on the goat cheese and olives. Bake the casserole in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until nicely browned and bubbly.
Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Garnish it with fresh herbs, lemon zest. Then squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top and serve.