Let me take you all back to Naples, or Naples via my Grandmother and Mother’s kitchens with one of the most delicious of all “spuntini (snacks)” the famous MOZZARELLA EN CARROZZA. It literally means Mozzarella in a Carriage because of how the bread holds the cheese inbetween it’s egg battered and fried pieces. This dish is butchered so often with lots of extra ingredients or, for me, adding breadcrumbs to the coating. I love breadcrumbs on anything and everything but this is not supposed to be that way.. Why? Who knows, I’ll blame my Napoletana Grandmother who would refer to these morsels as the good grilled cheese (although she did say grilla cheese). It’s a simple snack or lite course that need not be fussed with, ok, sometimes a little piece of anchovy goes into the center, or a thin slice of salami or prosciutto or prosciutto cotto (cooked ham) but to experience a food as it was intended..Who says it was intended? Research and my Grandmother..two very good sources. As always, I ask you to try the recipe as I’m giving it to you then you can branch out to change it with whatever you think you want, but at least give the as close to the authentic (because we REALLY can’t say that for sure) as possible. It’s always good to do that with whatever recipe you are following for something.
One warning, and I will argue this with any Italian cook if I have to!…If using a fresh mozzarella do not use it on day one. It will release water into the bread and give you a quite soggy product and send liquid into the frying pan..that mean splattering oil. A mess. A good brand of low moisture block mozzarella or day old fresh will give you your best carrozza. Another thing, keep the thickness down to a minumum so it fully melts while frying (no you cannot make this in a crockpot, just saying). LET’S COOK!!
for 8 TRIANGLES TIME: 20 minutes or so
8 SLICES OF FIRM WHITE AMERICAN BREAD OR SANDWICH BREAD,CRUSTS CUT OFF
1 LB MOZZARELLA, IF USING FRESH, DAY OLD…OR USE A GOOD LOW MOISTURE BLOCK STYLE LIKE POLLY-O OR GALBANI SLICED INTO 1/4 SLICES
HANDFUL OF CHOPPED ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY (OPTIONAL)
1/4 CUP GRATED PECORINO ROMANO
1/2 TSP FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER
PINCH OF KOSHER SALT
4 LARGE EGGS, WELL BEATEN
1 TBS WHOLE MILK
3 tbs. UNBLEACHED FLOUR
OLIVE OIL FOR FRYING
Beat the eggs with the milk then add the pepper, cheese, salt and parsley. Make sure it’s well blended or you will have patches of eggwhites on your Carrozza. They need to be golden colored.
Between 2 pieces of the bread add 2 slices or enough to thoroughly cover the surface of the bread. Slice the bread on a diagonal and dip the bread into the flour and coat all sides (this is to help seal the cheese inside). In a wide pan heat 2 tbs of olive oil until a drop of the egg mixture dances around in it when added to the pan. Now gently dip the triangle into the egg..let it sit for a 30 seconds, then do the other side letting exscess run off then into the pan. Do this only until you have 4 in the pan. Crowding will reduce the heat, more oil will be soaked and flipping them will be a royal nightmare. Keep the flame on medium giving the egg a chance to cook, the filling a chance to melt and don’t burn it whatever you do. Burnt eggs are nasty. Drain on paper towels. Continue with the next batch. Make sure you lightly top tent the platter with foil and keep in a very low oven. Add more oil if neccessary.
Now what to do with our little mozzarella en carozza besides eating them…?? Well, here in the USA a bowl of dipping sauce seems to come with everything. Marinara is the usual suspect here. For me, and for Napoletana’s in Naples there is no dipping sauce. Must we dip everything? A Little bit of pecorino…a little fresh lemon, or just nothing. Sometimes they are served with a butter, wine, and anchovy sauce but that really goes with Carrozza’s slightly more northern cousin, Spiedini Alla Romana, which may have nothing to do with Rome and everything to do with Naples. Fact check and research for another time. For now we will stick with Mozzarella en Carrozza. So simple, so good.
Serving suggestion…along with a lemon, olive oil and arugula salad. What a meal!!! Can be made ahead of time and gently reheated.