Name the most popular Italian Cheeses in America? Parmigiano (Parmesan) and Mozzarella will probably at the top of the list. Being of Southern Italian, especially Napoletana DNA my tastebuds gravitate towards Mozzarella in any of it’s forms, especially when crisply fried with breadcrumbs and soft and very stringy on the inside. Those “strings” gave the Roman version of Arancini(Rice Balls ) the name of SUPPLI AL TELEFONO..because of the mozzarella inside, when you bite into it the cheese wonderfully pulls. Like in a Lasagne or on a Pizza it forces you to take another bite. Fresh mozzarella though on the day it’s made, unless you have a 1000 degree oven like a Napoletana pizza oven, you will overcook it and will have lots of water come out from it. For conventional ovens block mozzarella, or low moisture is better suited. Save that fresh to be eaten as the cows or buffalo is came from really wanted you to..soft, fresh, and warm, and just made. Nothing like it. BUT..and there’s always a but, if you have leftover fresh mozzarella, on day 2 you will be able to use it like you would a block or low moisture cheese. Something chemical happens when it’s refrigerated and out of the water so that’s a great idea for you if you don’t care to use the commercially produced type. Mozzarella sticks are a favorite but what if you turn that American treat a little upside down and be more Italian with it? Well, you then have MOZZARELLA MILANESE! Mozzarella Cutlets..so let’s start..come into my kitchen with me and put on an apron.
SERVES: 4 TIME: 30 minutes
12 1/4 INCH SLICES OF MOZZARELLA (USE WHOLE MILK MOZZARELLA)
3 LARGE OR JUMBO EGGS, BEATEN
1/8 CUP GRATED PECORINO ROMANO (for eggs)
3 TBS. GRATED PECORINO (for breadcrumbs)
1/4 CUP DRY PLAIN ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS
2 TBS CHOPPED FLAT LEAF ITALIAN PARSLEY
1/4 TSP FRESHLY GRATED BLACK PEPPER
1/8 CUP FLOUR SEASONED WITH A PINCH OF SALT AND BLACK PEPPER
OLIVE OIL OR VEGETABLE OIL
PEPERONCINO, FENNEL FRONDS, LEMON (OPTIONAL)
Lay all of your pans/plates the you are using on a counter starting with the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Make the breadcrumb mix first..combine the breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt, the parsley, 2 tbs of the cheese. Add 1 tbs cheese and the pepper to the eggs, blend it well. Have a sheet pan covered in foil or parchment paper at the end of your breading line. Dip each slice of cheese into the flour on both sides, gently shake off the excess, then into the egg, let he excess roll off, then into the crumbs pressing lightly on both sides to completely coat the cheese. lay onto the covered baking sheet. When you are all done loosely cover the cutlets with foil and refrigerate for 10 minutes. When using fresh mozzarella (as in made within only hours of you buying it) for this dish, let it sit overnight. Fresh mozzarella is meant to be eaten before it ever sees a refrigerator. And it’s loaded with liquid which will make your frying a dangerous nightmare. Again, I suggest fresh but used the day after you purchased it, or any of the block Low Moisture varieties. I live in an area where fresh mozzarella made daily is commonplace. This piece of mozzarella was from a local Italian supermarket, TOP TOMATO. (http://toptomatosuperstorenj.com/). Heat about 1 inch of olive oil or vegetable oil in a high sided pan. When a cube of bread “dances” and starts to immediately start to brown, your oil i ready. Have a tray lined with paper towels, or brown paper, or some racks over a tray on the side and spatula and long tongs ready to go. Only fry 2 cutlets at a time…just till each side gets golden and crisp taking care when turning. This Doesn’t take long at all. If they are in too long the cheese will ooze and the crumbs will burn. After they are drained eat immediately! or place on an oven proof platter and loosely cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven (about 200 degrees F). When serving garnish with optional grated cheese, peperoncino, chopped basil or oregano or fennel fronds, a squeeze of fresh lemon. DELICIOUS. You can now throw that stale box of Mozzarella Sticks away. You’ve mastered another dish!!! This dish also comes from the school of FRITTI NAPOLETANA..the fried snacks of Naples.