Fried Pepperoni Ciabatta Sandwich

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The ultimate ciabatta sandwich! Filled with fried pepperoni, honey roasted ham, mozzarella, tomato & a hazelnut pesto.

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fried pepperoni mozzarella ciabatta

The Ciabatta

First up, we have the bread.
For this recipe, we’re using a homemade ciabatta. More specifically, one that has been cold proved overnight for extra flavour & has a soft, open crumb. The recipe for this can be found here.

If you wanted to use a different ciabatta, that’s fine too. Or maybe go for a different type of bread altogether? A focaccia would work well!

The Meat

There’s two types of meat in this sandwich. The main one being pepperoni.
For extra texture & because I believe that cooked pepperoni is better, we are going to being frying it until crispy. As it is sliced so thinly, the pepperoni takes no time at all to cook in a frying pan. We’re talking 30 seconds on each side! For an extra hit of flavour, we will also be taking the pepperoni infused oil from the pan & brush it all over the ciabatta before filling it…

The other meat that we are using is a honey roast ham. To keep things simple, I’ve gone with a ready made one. This can be found in most supermarkets or delis.
Using this type of ham, adds a tiny amount of sweetness which helps cut through the richness of the pepperoni. It’s sliced pretty thick as well which makes our sandwich more substantial.

The Cheese

To keep this an Italian style sandwich, I’ve gone with a mozzarella to accompany the pepperoni. The creaminess from this cheese helps balance out the saltiness from the meat & the punchiness from the pesto.
If you wanted to melt the mozzarella, you could grill the sandwich before topping with the other piece of bread. I quite like it left un melted & sliced thinly. Make sure to give it 10-15 minutes out of the fridge before serving though!


For a bit of freshness, we’re adding in a layer of super thinly sliced tomato. I’ve gone with a large vine tomato but feel free to use your favourite variety. Some sundried tomatoes would work nicely as well.

Hazelnut Pesto

Finally, we have the pesto.
This is a bit different from a classic pesto because it is made with roasted hazelnuts instead of pine nuts. We’re also adding in some fresh rocket as well as basil.
You’ll still find the usual pesto ingredients in this recipe. We’re talking grated parmesan, raw garlic, olive oil & lemon juice. But using hazelnuts & rocket gives this pesto a nuttier flavour which works great with the meat & cheese.

hazelnut pesto jug blender

Equipment Used

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More Recipes

Fried Salami Ciabatta Sanwich

The ultimate ciabatta sandwich! Filled with fried pepperoni, honey roasted ham, mozzarella, tomato & a hazelnut pesto.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 People
Author: Ben Racey


  • Food Processor
  • Large Frying Pan
  • Large Chopping Board
  • Cheese Grater
  • Serrated Bread Knife


Hazelnut Pesto

  • 50 g Blanched Hazelnuts
  • 30 g Rocket Washed
  • 25 g Fresh Basil
  • 10 g Parmesan Grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lemon Juiced
  • 120 g Olive Oil

The Sandwich

  • 1 Ciabatta
  • 20 Slices Pepperoni
  • 3 Slices Honey Roast Ham
  • 1 Ball Mozarella Drained & Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Large Vine Tomato Thinly Sliced


  • Hazelnut Pesto.
    Preheat an oven to 200°c/180°c fan.
    Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray & roast for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool then peel off any skins.
  • Next, place the rocket, basil (don’t worry about picking the leaves, throw the stalks in as well!), parmesan, garlic, lemon juice & hazelnuts into a food processor or jug blender. Add in the olive oil, season with salt & pepper then blitz until smooth, scraping the sides down occasionally with a rubber spatula.
    Once blitzed, transfer the pesto to a bowl & set aside.
  • The Sandwich.
    Cut your ciabatta in half then set aside.
    Heat a frying pan over a medium heat & add in a splash of veg oil. Fry the pepperoni slices for 30 seconds on each side then transfer to a plate. Keep hold of the oil in the pan.
    Brush the inside of the ciabatta with the pepperoni infused oil then spread a generous layer of pesto onto one side.
  • Next, add in the ham, overlapping if necessary. Spread the slices of tomato on top then season with salt & pepper.
  • Take the fried pepperoni & place on top of the tomato, followed by the sliced mozzarella. Season the cheese with a crack of black pepper then top with the other piece of bread.
  • Using a serrated bread knife, cut the ciabatta into 3-4 portions then serve.


To Cook On An Aga.
Roast the hazelnuts in the centre of the baking oven for 5-10 minutes.
Cook the pepperoni in a frying pan on the boiling plate. If the pan gets too hot, switch over to the simmering plate.
This sandwich is best served straight away!
The pesto recipe makes more than you will need. It will keep in the fridge for several days though & can be used for sandwiches, pasta & salad. 

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