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Mozzarella in Carrozza: A Taste of Italian Comfort

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Mozzarella in Carrozza, literally translating to “mozzarella in a carriage,” is a classic Italian dish that exemplifies simple yet indulgent comfort food. Originating from the Neapolitan tradition, this dish transforms everyday ingredients into a crispy, gooey delight that’s perfect as a snack, appetizer, or even a light meal.

History and Origins

Like many traditional Italian dishes, Mozzarella in Carrozza has humble beginnings. It is believed to have originated as a way to use up leftover ingredients, particularly stale bread and aged mozzarella. Over time, it evolved into a beloved street food in Naples and eventually found its way into trattorias and home kitchens throughout Italy.

Ingredients

For the Mozzarella in Carrozza:

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, preferably buffalo mozzarella, sliced
  • White bread, preferably a day or two old, crusts removed
  • Eggs, beaten
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for frying

For Serving (optional):

  • Marinara sauce or a simple tomato sauce
  • Lemon wedges
  • Fresh basil leaves

Instructions

1. Prepare the Mozzarella Slices:

  • Slice the mozzarella into thick slices, about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

2. Assemble the Sandwiches:

  • Take two slices of bread for each sandwich. Place a slice of mozzarella between them. Press down gently to adhere.

3. Dredge the Sandwiches:

  • In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs and season with salt, pepper, and chopped parsley.
  • Place the flour on a plate. Dredge each sandwich first in flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Dip the sandwich into the beaten egg mixture, ensuring both sides are coated evenly.

4. Fry the Mozzarella in Carrozza:

  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
  • Carefully place the sandwiches in the skillet and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Use a spatula to carefully flip the sandwiches to ensure even cooking.

5. Drain and Serve:

  • Once both sides are golden brown and the cheese inside is melted, remove the sandwiches from the skillet and drain them on paper towels briefly to remove excess oil.

6. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Cut each Mozzarella in Carrozza sandwich into halves or quarters. Serve hot, optionally with marinara sauce for dipping, fresh basil leaves, and lemon wedges on the side.

Tips for Success

  • Choosing Mozzarella: Use fresh mozzarella for its creamy texture and mild flavor. Buffalo mozzarella adds an extra richness.
  • Bread Selection: Sturdy white bread works best as it holds up well to frying. Avoid overly soft bread that might become soggy.
  • Frying Technique: Ensure the oil is hot enough before frying to achieve a crispy exterior while quickly melting the cheese inside.
  • Variations: Some recipes include adding anchovies, prosciutto, or even a slice of tomato between the mozzarella layers for additional flavor.

Conclusion

Mozzarella in Carrozza exemplifies the Italian approach to transforming simple ingredients into a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Its crisp exterior and gooey interior make it a favorite among both young and old, perfect for a casual lunch, a party appetizer, or a comforting snack any time of day. Whether enjoyed on its own or with a side of marinara sauce, Mozzarella in Carrozza is sure to bring a taste of Italy to your table, warming both the belly and the soul.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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