Appetizers and Snacks, Vegetarian

Mozzarella in Carrozza (Italian Fried Mozzarella Sandwich)

Nicoletta November 4, 2016

Mozzarella in Carrozza (Italian Fried Mozzarella Sandwich) is a melty mozzarella nestled between two slices of bread that are first dipped in milk, then in flour and beaten eggs and finally deep fried until golden and crispy. Kind of the Italian version of a grilled cheese sandwich.

mozzarella-in-carrozza

I love street food and if it is deep fried, even better. I know, I always talk about eating healthy and foods that are good for you, but I also like to indulge in something less beneficial for your health and more for your happiness, once in a while. Mozzarella in carrozza is my kind of “comfort food” back home, the kind of food you eat with your hands, licking your fingertips after, in company with friends or family, outside in the open air, underneath a deep blue sky, among chats and good laughs.

 

 

Mozzarella in carrozza, that can roughly be translated as “Mozzarella in a carriage”, is yet another recipe that seems to have originated in Naples, although it is widely enjoyed throughout Italy and found its way and spread out there, in some other parts of the world. Many are the Neapolitan recipes I love and tried to recreate, like this one, or this other one; recipes that are particularly tasty, simple, and that use few ingredients.

During our Italian vacation, last September, Loreto and I took a train from Rome, and after 1 hour and a half we arrived in Naples. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm and we spent the whole day walking, and eating. We actually didn’t sit down in a proper restaurant but ate standing or walking, eating the most delicious “street food” ever: pizza a portafoglio (pizza margherita folded in 4), crocchè (potato croquette), “cuoppo”, which is a “cartoccio” (paper cone) filled with deep fried deliciousness, including fried mozzarella, fried pasta, arancini. Not mentioning some of the best sweets you could ever eat: gelatosfogliatella and babà, accompanied by a strong and “short” espresso, while listening and watching the charismatic nature of this culture do its thing.

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Let’s make Mozzarella in Carrozza. It’s pretty easy.

The main ingredients for this Mozzarella in carrozza are: mozzarella (fiordilatte), rustic bread, milk, flour, eggs, and the olive oil you’re going to fry your “mozzarella sandwich” with. As usual, being few ingredients, means that they have to be he right ones: a one or two day old rustic, country loaf of bread, sliced and round would work better than a white sliced bread which might just crumble when dipped into the milk. The eggs, of course, organic, from chickens allowed to run free; the fiordilatte, good quality, soft creamy in a brine, not the hard, packaged one.

mozzarella-in-carrozza

Loreto and I we worked in an assembly line fashion, as to build the perfect sandwich and immediately fry it until golden. It went something like that: I assembled the sandwich, dipped it in milk and passed it to Loreto who sealed it in flour, then dipped it in the eggs and moved to the frying pan where he finished the task beautifully, keeping the sandwich intact and frying it to a golden perfection. You can cut the bread in triangles, rectangles, there is no fixed rule, here. I liked the round cut, because that is how I mostly had it, and even though you end up with some bread leftover (crust and surrounding areas), we cubed it and toasted it, perfect to use for breadcrumbs or croutons. Waste not, want not, our favorite motto, and the passion of working together, putting just a bit more flavor into this wonderful appetizer.

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We enjoyed the Mozzarella in Carrozza for supper, on a week night, and I made a marinara sauce to go with it. I had some roma tomatoes, the last from my in-laws’ garden, which I blanched in hot boiling water, then strained with a “passapomodoro” (tomato milling machine), and cooked in e.v.o. oil, garlic, a pinch of chili flakes, salt and pepper and lots of oregano until the tomato puree turned into a nice and thick sauce. It was so good it was trying to steal the show to the mozzarella! But we are equal opportunity people so a balance was struck.

mozzarella-in-carrozza

The crust of this appetizer beautiful, crispy, flavorful. Then you hit the milk moistened bread offering a soft foundation for he next phase of tasting. The gooey melted mozzarella with its silky creaminess playing beautifully with your taste buds and tongue, especially when you dip it into that ever so rich oregano and garlic infused marinara sauce, adding a kick of acidity to the mildness of the cheese and crispy coating of the crust holding everything together. Loreto was cleaning the saucepan with his Mozzarella in Carrozza telling me that he thoroughly enjoyed this Neapolitan appetizer.

Planning a party or just wanting to have an appetizer family night? This Mozzarella in Carrozza, is a perfect addition to any line up of appetizers in a finger food feast.

Song of the day: “Uprising” by Muse.

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 4 servings

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Ingredients

    Mozzarella in carrozza:
  • 8 slices rustic bread or sliced Italian bread, crust removed
  • 1 medium mozzarella, sliced 1 cm thick
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • e.vo. oil for frying (or sunflower, or peanut oil)
  • Marinara Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups tomato puree (stewed tomatoes, canned or fresh)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed slightly
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of chili flakes

Instructions

  1. Cut bread into 2 cm slices and with a biscuit cutter cut 8 rounds. Set the borders aside to make cubed breadcrumbs with.
  2. Cut the mozzarella into 1 cm thick rounds to fit onto the bread slices making sure to leave a little margin around the edges.
  3. Pour the milk into one soup bowl, the flour into another, and beat the eggs with salt and pepper in another.
  4. Warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
  5. Dunk the sandwiches briefly, one by one, in the milk, then dredge in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg.
  6. Fry in hot oil on each side till crispy and golden and remove to kitchen towel.
  7. Marinara Sauce
  8. Peel the garlic and crush it slightly.
  9. In a frying pan over medium heat 2 tablespoons of e.v.o. oil. Add the crushed garlic and when it turns golden take it out.
  10. Stir in the tomato puree and let infuse in the oil for few minutes.
  11. Add the oregano, the pinch of chili flakes and adjust with salt and pepper.
  12. Partially cover the pan to allow the steam to escape, and let the sauce cook for about twenty minutes, over medium low heat, stirring once in a while, until sauce thickens.
  13. Serve with mozzarella in carrozza and enjoy!

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28 Comments

  • Reply Melanie Villeneuve November 4, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Goodness that looks glorious! I will try it this weekend with Tom. Feels like halfway between a grilled cheese & French toast. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 4, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you Melanie! Hope you try it and let us know. You could also bake it, but it’s not the same 😉 . You’re right, it’s in between a grilled cheese and a french toast!

  • Reply Sean November 4, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    That sounds AMAZING. I mean, on the surface, yeah it’s basically a grilled (fried?) cheese sandwich, but I can just picture how good it is with such simple and wonderful ingredients. I think that foods like this can be so phenomenally special when you put care into choosing the best ingredients. And honestly, I don’t use good, brined mozzarella often enough. This seems like a good excuse. Extra points for making sure to make and use your own simple marinara here too (though I wouldn’t have expected any less from you two!). Delicious, thoughtful simplicity.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 5, 2016 at 8:40 am

      Thank you Sean! Yes, simple recipes are my favorite, the best quality ingredients my go-to, and obtaining lots of flavor using with few ingredients. That is how I grew up, the flavors that speak to me. As for the sauce, Loreto tells me that I’m the queen of pasta because my sauces are absolutely amazing 🙂 !

  • Reply Samantha @mykitchenlove November 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Okay, this has to be the ultimate sandwich recipe! Cheese, bread and frying … ?! Looks so good! I love the idea of dipping it too; kind of like toast soldiers with egg yolks but taken to another level.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 5, 2016 at 8:42 am

      I know, Samantha, cheese, bread and frying…what better? 😉 The idea of dipping came to me because I noticed that here in Canada is everybody’s favorite, they all want a sauce to dip for everything. You would never see it in Italy, though 😉 .

  • Reply Matt @ RoughEats November 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    How have I never heard of these before??!! They look delicious!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 5, 2016 at 8:45 am

      Thanks Matt, that’s why we’re here, to bring some hidden Italian “gems” to the surface 😉 .

  • Reply Marisa November 4, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Foods such as these mozzarella in carrozza have me longing for Italy, touring the beautiful towns all the while munching on their variety of yummy street foods…much as you have while visiting Rome. They are heavenly 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 5, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Every time we go back to Italy I try to take Loreto to visit as many cities and small towns as possible, enjoying the culture, the food, the people. There is so much to see, I lived there all my life and I still miss a few jewels to see! Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

  • Reply Coley | Coley Cooks November 5, 2016 at 8:03 am

    LOVED reading this post! My husband and I took a trip to Italy last September too (the first of what I hope to be many more!). Only we went north instead of south. These look absolutely perfect. Such a great recipe for the holidays. 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 6, 2016 at 6:27 am

      Thanks Coley! We were in Italy at the same time! Hope you go again and visit different parts, food and cultures are so different from region to region. This is a great appetizer, that can also be cooked in the oven.

  • Reply Adina November 5, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I love this recipe, mozzarella in carrozza is something I wanted to eat for a long time, it just that the deep frying part always puts me off, I don’t have the figure which can take that without later regrets… Maybe I will make just one piece someday, to see how it tastes without being tempted to eat too much of it. 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 6, 2016 at 6:30 am

      The deep fried is my favorite part 😉. But you can follow all the steps of the preparation and then cook the sandwiches in the oven. It will still be awesome! Thanks Adina!

  • Reply annie@ciaochowbambina November 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Goodness! This is delectable! The special day you describe traveling to Naples, sounds very similar to a day my husband and I spent in Testaccio. Talking, walking and eating…never stopping to sit – but scurrying to get to the next delicious offering! Mozzarella in carrozza (unfortunately) was not part of our travels that day but at least we don’t have to wait ’til the next time we’re in Italy to enjoy! Thank you for sharing, Nicoletta!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 6, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Thank you Annie! Testaccio…how much I miss that area of my city… and yes, that is exactly how we experienced Napoli. So glad you have amazing memories of your trip! This mozzarella is really good and simple to do, hope you try It!

  • Reply Cassie | Crumb Kitchen November 6, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Nicoletta, you’re making me drool! I have a big chunk of fresh mozzarella in the fridge (I actually just ate it straight from the ball yesterday haha) and have some rustic bread I made a few days ago…guess what I’m going to be trying for lunch today? 😉

    Amazing recipe and love the addition of your Italian vacation experiences. Great work!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 6, 2016 at 6:34 am

      Yay, Cassie! You seem to have the right ingredients to make it! Hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for your nice comment!

  • Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop November 6, 2016 at 5:30 am

    This sounds like comfort food to me…..all that soft melty cheese packed between fried bread. I’m in! This sounds so tasty and a different take on the regular grilled cheese.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 6, 2016 at 6:37 am

      Thanks Kathy! It is definitely comfort food 😊. Simple yet tasty and flavorful!

  • Reply Katrin November 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    What a fabulously naughty recipe. This is the king of all comfort foods!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 21, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      You’re right Katrin, it is a “naughty” recipe 😉 but one so good! 🙂

  • Reply Julie November 25, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Hi, Nicoletta! This recipe looks so comforting! I mean how can you go wrong with fried mozzarella cheese mini sandwiches! Plus, dipped in marinara sauce. Perfection! I’m surprised at how well the sandwich stays together when fried! This will make for a great party appetizer and I’ll be sure to try it soon. Yum!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Julie, thank you! I know, you cannot go wrong with fried cheese 🙂 . And the marinara adds a delightful touch 🙂 . My husband fried them, he did a great job! When you dredge the sandwiches in flour first and egg after, roll the sides, too, it will seal the mozzarella in between. Hope you try them!

  • Reply Carol Borchardt November 27, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Looks and sounds amazing! Being from Wisconsin, we’re all about the cheese. And fried cheese? Oh yeah! This is a must-try!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 27, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Thanks Carol! And yes, it’s all about the cheese in Italy too 😉 .

  • Reply Jenna December 2, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I just died a little bit reading this post. This is such a genius thing. I mean grilled cheese is perfect. Fried mozzarella is perfect. Combining the two? Mind blown. I can’t wait to make this!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 2, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much Jenna! I know, right? Simply ingenious. 😉. And so good!

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