By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Mozzarella in carrozza is a dish of indescribable pleasure: a warm and stringy core of melted cheese in a crunchy coating. This delicious, humble dish originates as a way to recycle leftover mozzarella and stale bread. Just a few simple ingredients are enough to transform leftovers into a delicious delicacy. It can be served as an appetizer or as a standalone dish, but its origins are as a humble street food from southern Italy.
Mozzarella in carrozza means "mozzarella in a carriage," and there a several legends associated with the origins of the name.
One of the legends of this Campanian traditional dish states that the name derives from the shape of the sandwich, because originally the bread slices where round—similar to the wheels of a coach. Another story says that in the nineteenth century, dairy products were carried in a shepherd coach. The last legend tells that the long strands of melted mozzarella resemble the bridles of the horses.
This combination of "crisp and gooey" is absolutely fantastic, but to fry a perfect mozzarella in carrozza like an Italian, you need to know some tricks.
You must leave the mozzarella in a colander overnight to drain the liquid. If you don't do this, the bread will be too wet and mushy.
When you make the sandwich, trim out the mozzarella in excess or it will be too difficult to handle and to eat.
Here's the recipe! Buon Appetito!
Mozzarella in Carrozza
16 oz (50 g) mozzarella
8 slices white bread
3 Tbs whole milk
1 cup (200 g) breadcrumbs
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
In another shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
Top 4 slices of white bread with a single mozzarella slice.
Top the remaining 4 slices of white bread and press down gently.
Dip both sides and all the edges of a sandwich in the egg to coat fully, followed by the bread crumbs, then repeat with the other sandwiches.
In a large skillet, heat 1/4-inch olive oil over medium heat. See if the oil is ready by dropping a few bread crumbs in; they should bubble gently. Working in batches, fry each sandwich, turning once with a slotted spatula until the outsides and edges are golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), The Grimore, The Magic of the Moon, and Magic Herbs (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).