41 ratings

Italian Breakfast Sandwich

Staff Writer
Italian Breakfast Sandwich
Esquire Magazine

Italian Breakfast Sandwich

Every Sunday my father would go into the kitchen and become Mr. Sandwich, toasting up good slices of bread and filling them with all sorts of combinations. Some were good, some horrendous. But it turned me into a sandwich junkie. When you’re making a breakfast sandwich, there’s no time to waste. Frying the salami, sopressata is ideal because it’s generously larded, crisps up the meat and gives the sandwich body. But it’s also efficient, because you can use that same pan to make a sunny-side-up egg, glazing it with the spiciness of the rendered fat. (You can also use this trick to cook onions, peppers, or greens for a flavor boost with no extra work)

There’s a lot going on in this Italian sandwich, but it has great balance: The saltiness of the meat is offset by the sweetness of the basil and the creaminess of the egg and mozzarella. Soaking sliced red onion in ice water is something I learned from my mom. It takes the raw bite out of the onion and keeps it light and crunchy. This is a rich sandwich, but it’s refreshing. And the beautiful thing is, it’s not just for breakfast. 

Click here to see Make Brunch in 20 Minutes or Less — 10 Recipes.

Deliver Ingredients


  • 4-6 thin slices (about 4 ounces) sopressata or dry-cured Italian salami
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 2 slices (about 2 ounces) prosciutto
  • 2 thin slices (about 2 ounces) fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 paper-thin slices red onion, soaked in ice water for 2 minutes, then drained
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves


In a skillet over low heat, fry the salami until lightly crisp and fat is rendered, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, fry the egg sunny-side up. Remove and set aside. On one piece of bread, layer the salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, and drained red onion; close with remaining slice. Place in the same skillet, pressing down on the sandwich with the palm of your hand, and lightly toast on both sides. Remove, open the sandwich, and layer the egg and basil on the bottom half. Close, slice on the diagonal, and serve.

Italian Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Italian Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.