Home Eating & DrinkingFood & RecipesSecondo - Mains & Accompaniments Shepherd’s Steak – Abruzzo’s Pastoral Cheese on Toast

Shepherd’s Steak – Abruzzo’s Pastoral Cheese on Toast

by Sam Dunham
Shepherd Steak

We were sent this for ’s Steak by our cheese-making friends at La Porta dei Parchi, in response to a request we had for an . The enquiry was from a lady in the US who is writing an international on cheese and wanted to feature something of Abruzzo, due in particular to the region’s reputation for making excellent pecorino (sheep’s cheese), considered second-to-none across .

Not only is this recipe delicious, vegetarian and super quick, it also combines two of my favourite ingredients: cheese and mint. For any halloumi cheese lovers this is a dish that you’re bound to relish, as well as being a canny roadmap to the socio-economic of Abruzzo.   You can easily imagine Abruzzo’s shepherds putting this together at the end of the day from the ingredients in their knapsacks, utilising milk from the sheep and chopping a little mint and other meadow herbs that the sheep have grazed on through the day; you wouldn’t be eating your main assets after all!

It also answers one of my recent questions about what my neighbours do with the stale bread when they buy in bulk for a long bank holiday weekend, as I know for sure the oldies in the village don’t go in for Tuscan Panzanella-like salads, this is no doubt one of the supper dishes they cook using up that hard bread.   Like other regions in Italy with a high diaspora rate, this traditional Abruzzo dish points to inventive recycling with leftovers, made perhaps with a old slices of baguette & left in the oven for another 5 minutes it would make great party finger ; we ate it with some raw sweet fava beans (broad beans)…it leaves cheese on toast out for the count.

Shepherd Steak

Shepherd's Steak

A traditional Abruzzo cheese recipe that combines 2 of my favourite ingredients: cheese & mint as well as being a canny roadmap to its socio-economic history Secondo - Mains & Accompaniments Shepherd’s Steak – Abruzzo’s Pastoral Cheese on Toast Italian Print This
Serves: 2 Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 2 Slices of Stale Bread
  • Milk
  • 1 medium Red Onion
  • 100 g young Pecorino (aged 1 to 3 months or a similar cheese)
  • Fresh Mint leaves


Cut the onion into thin slices; dip the slices of bread in the milk both sides and place in a shallow roasting tin, add the onion onto the bread (at this point I also added a little ground black pepper) and then cover with slices of cheese. Put it into the oven (180 ° C) until onion is cooked (about 10 min.).   Add mint leaves and enjoy!







Christina Yocca 29/04/2016 - 00:18

Ahhh, memories. They served this at the end of the tranzhumanza when I went with La Porta dei Parchi.

Life in Abruzzo 29/04/2016 - 05:50

I’m so envious, one day I’ll get to go on it

Serena Mariani 28/04/2016 - 14:21

I didn’t even know about this!

Sam Dunham 28/04/2016 - 20:19

It was a great discovery, so glad that they shared the recipe

Life in Abruzzo 27/04/2016 - 13:22

Do you think that’s because of the diversity of each province? We’re always so surprised how different dishes are just 15 km down the road. This recipe was given to us to share by Nuncio Marcelli (the region’s head shepherd) whose farm, La Porti dei Parchi is in Anversa degli Abruzzi AQ

Abruzzo Food | Searching for Calascio 02/11/2011 - 03:00

[…] in Abruzzo shared Porta dei Parchi’s recipe for Shepherd Steak. We ate this wonderful cheese dish at the end of the transhumanza. It is a good way to use ay old or […]

AdriBarr 18/07/2011 - 21:34

Thank you for a most enlightening post. My grandfather who was from Abruzzo snacked on essentially this treat – and now I know why. Mille grazie

Comments are closed.

All about Abruzzo in a slow travel & food blog
All about Abruzzo in a slow travel & food blog