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Fried Egg Sandwiches

Frocia d'Ova ca Pastetta

Makes 18 Sandwiches

Making sandwiches for my school lunchbox was Grandma Galasso's domain, but peanut butter sandwiches were very rare. Instead I could look forward to this elaborate egg sandwich, flecked with pieces of Swiss chard and salty cheese. It began as a frittata made with eggs and ricotta salata.

After the frittata was cooked and cooled, it was cut into pieces and placed in a yeast dough. If eaten at home, it was topped with fresh tomato sauce. For school lunches, pieces were sandwiched between bread slices. If you can't find ricotta salata, substitute Pecorino Romano cheese.

Ingredients

DOUGH

1 3/4 cups very warm water (100º to 115ºF)

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

4 to 4 1/2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon salt

6 to 8 cups vegetable oil, for frying

FILLING

1/2 pound Swiss chard

6 large eggs

1 cup grated ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups tomato sauce

Directions

To make the dough, place the warm water in a large bowl and add the yeast. Mix well and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and olive oil and mix again.

In a separate bowl, mix 4 cups of the flour with the salt and add it gradually to the yeast mixture. Mix well with your hands until you have a ball of dough. Add additional flour if the dough seems sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it until smooth.

Lightly grease a bowl with a little oil and add the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the broiler.

Wash and stem the Swiss chard. Place it in a skillet with about 1 1/2 cups water. Cover the skillet and cook until the chard is limp, about 6 minutes. Drain the chard well in a colander. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes, then squeeze dry with your hands and cut it into thin strips and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs gently with a whisk. Add the chard, ricotta, and pepper; blend gently.

In a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil until hot. Pour in the egg mixture and cook the frittata until it has set on the underside. Place the frying pan under the broiler and broil until the eggs set on top. Remove the pan from the broiler and invert the frittata onto a wood board; let frittata cool. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips about 2 inches long and set aside.

Punch the dough down and knead for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 18 pieces and roll each out with a rolling pin into a 5-inch circle. Lay a few strips of the frittata in the center and fold the dough over to make a turnover. Press the edges closed with a fork. Place them on a clean towel.

In a deep-fryer, heat the oil to 375ºF. Add a few of the turnovers at a time and fry until golden brown. Drain on brown paper.

Variation: Eliminate making the dough and place wedges of frittata between slices of good bread.

This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993

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