I have two words that will change your world: pepperoni butter. Just blitz up some soft butter with a chunk of pepperoni. Of course, using good-quality pepperoni makes a difference, and I recommend buying it from a deli as a whole piece rather than presliced, since the latter can get dry ( 'nduja, a soft spiced-meat mixture, or mortadella are both fantastic too). With fresh mozzarella melted over the top until molten, this toast is like pizza bread 2.0. If you have leftover pepperoni butter, try melting a knob into warmed pasta sauce-it transforms even the plainest red sauce into a nuanced and spectacularly spiced ragu.
1. Make the pepperoni butter: In a food processor, combine the butter, pepperoni, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes and process until well combined. The final mixture should be semi-smooth.
2. Make the toast: Spread a generous amount of the pepperoni butter over each slice of bread. Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven, 3-5 inches (7.5-10 cm) from the broiler (grill) element, and preheat to high. If you have an old-school broiler drawer beneath your oven, you can get a better result by setting the baking sheet on top of a muffin tin, thereby elevating the baking sheet to 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) from the heating element. Set the bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes (watch the bread closely as broiler intensities vary--never walk away from food under the broiler!). Flip the bread slices and toast the other side until golden brown, another 1-2 minutes.
3. Place 2 pieces of mozzarella over each bread slice (overlapping if necessary), set on the baking sheet, and broil until the cheese is melted and browned, 2-3 minutes (watch the cheese closely as the broiler intensities vary).
4. To serve, top each toast with 1 tablespoon basil and sprinkle with salt.
"Toast: The Cookbook" by Raquel Pelzel (c) Phaidon Press 2015. Provided courtesy of Raquel Pelzel. All rights reserved.