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Mozzarella in Carrozza

Mozzarella in Carrozza
Cut into strips, this Italian cheese sandwich makes a terrific antipasto. In Naples, it is usually deep-fried, but shallow frying is the preferred method because the sandwich absorbs less oil. Serve as soon as possible after cooking to prevent the strips from becoming soggy. If you like, slip some chopped olives, a pinch of red pepper flakes or some sun-dried tomatoes between the bread slices along with the cheese. Serve with a glass of crisp and fruity Pinot Grigio.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 3 Tbs. milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 loaf coarse country bread, about 1/2 lb.,
      cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
      1/4 inch thick
  • Olive oil for frying

Directions:

In a large, shallow bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and salt until blended.

Using 2 slices of bread and 1 slice of cheese for each, make as many cheese sandwiches as you can. One at a time, dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture, coating evenly.

In a deep, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, pour in olive oil to a depth of 1/4 inch and warm just until it begins to ripple. Working in batches, place the sandwiches in the hot oil in a single layer and cook, pressing down on the tops with a spatula and turning once, until golden, about 1 minute per side. Using tongs or a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep warm until all the sandwiches are cooked.

Cut the sandwiches into strips 1 inch wide and arrange on a platter. Serve immediately.
Makes about 24 pieces; serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Small Plates, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1998).