Ultra-crunchy on the outside, thanks to a breadcrumb coating, and melty on the inside, fried mozzarella sandwiches (also called “mozzarella in carrozza”) sandwiches are what grilled cheese dreams are made of. The best part? You can use day-old bread as it’s dry enough to soak up the beaten egg and breadcrumbs before frying until crispy. To help you get started, we spoke to a few chefs who offer their tips and tricks for nailing this dish every time. Keep reading to learn how to make the most flavorful mozzarella in carrozza in 15 minutes or less!
What is “mozzarella in carrozza”
Mozzarella in carrozza is often viewed as the Italian version of grilled cheese. It’s made by filling crustless bread with mozzarella cheese, dipping it in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, then frying it. This unique breading and frying process creates a sandwich that’s both crunchier and cheesier than your usual grilled cheese.
Fried mozzarella sandwiches are believed to have originated in southern Italy as a way to use up stale bread and leftover mozzarella. Over time, this sandwich became a staple in households throughout the region and across the world.
“This was my mom’s favorite go-to for my lunches growing up, so I have a lot of fond memories of this particular sandwich,” says Steven Chiappetti, executive chef at the Albert restaurant in downtown Chicago. “Carrozza translates to ‘carriage’ in English so the bread literally becomes the ‘carriage’ for the cheese. Is there anything better?”
If you’re ready to whip up fried mozzarella sandwiches at home, be sure to follow a few tips to produce mouthwatering sandwiches.
3 tips for making tasty fried mozzarella sandwiches
While this sandwich is simple to prepare, Emily Laurae Carter, pastry chef and recipe developer at Emily Laurae Home Recipes, offers these three pointers to ensure the cheesiest and crispiest sandwiches imaginable.
1. Use this kind of mozzarella cheese.
For an impeccable mozzarella in carrozza, use fresh mozzarella like BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Ball (Buy from Walmart, $4.14) as it melts beautifully and offers a creamy contrast to the crispy bread exterior. Just be sure to cut the cheese into ½-inch-thick slices so it melts properly during frying. (Click through for more tips on picking the best cheese for traditional grilled cheese.)
2. Don’t let the oil get too hot.
When making fried mozzarella sandwiches, maintain a steady medium heat throughout the cooking process. This achieves that golden-brown crust without burning while ensuring the mozzarella inside fully melts.
3. Enjoy right away.
It’s best to eat this a couple of minutes after frying so it’s fresh and piping hot. However, if you’re making a large batch of sandwiches, place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet once cooked. Keep the sandwiches warm at 200°F until you’re ready to serve.
How to make mozzarella in carrozza
To make a traditional fried mozzarella sandwich, follow this 15-minute recipe from Italian dairy favorite Mila Südtirol. Once the sandwiches are cooked, you can enjoy as is, dip them into tomato sauce or serve with tomato basil soup as a twist on the classic soup and sandwich pairing!
Mozzarella in Carrozza
- 4 slices of thick day-old white bread, crust trimmed
- 4 to 6 slices fresh mozzarella, sliced into ½”-thick pieces
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cups seasoned or unseasoned breadcrumbs (Panko is best for achieving crispy textures) + more if needed
- Olive or vegetable oil, for frying
- Salt and black pepper
- Total time: 15 mins
- Yield: 2 regular-sized sandwiches (4 smaller sandwiches)
- In bowl, whisk together eggs with salt and pepper. To assemble each sandwich, place 2 or 3 slices mozzarella on 1 bread slice and cover with second slice. (Note: For smaller portions, cut sandwiches diagonally.)
- For breading sandwiches: Dip sandwich in egg mixture and then immediately cover with breadcrumbs, especially around edges. Repeat process for second time to prevent cheese from separating from the breadcrumbs. Use extra breadcrumbs, if necessary.
- Fill skillet with ¼-inch of oil and heat over medium heat until it reaches 300°F to 320°F. Fry one sandwich at a time until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove sandwich from skillet and drain on paper towels or on wire rack on baking sheet. Lightly season sandwich with quick sprinkle of salt. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
- Serve sandwiches hot. Enjoy!
3 ways to flavor this sandwich
Similar to regular grilled cheese, you can add additional ingredients to mozzarella in carrozza for a tastier sandwich. Try these three suggestions as they always yield yummy results.
1. Mix anchovy paste into the oil before frying.
This tip comes from Chiappetti and is sure to take your mozzarella in carrozza to the next level. “My mom would put a little anchovy paste in the pan when she fried the sandwiches for that salty, briny flavor, and this is a trick I incorporate to this day if I’m using the frying pan to prepare,” he explains. Simply place ½ tsp. of anchovy paste like Amore Anchovy Paste (Buy from Walmart, $5.99) in the skillet as the oil is heating and then fry the sandwich.
2. Add sliced meat inside of the sandwich.
For a heartier sandwich, place one or two slices of your favorite deli meat on top of the mozzarella. Some worthwhile options include smoked ham, prosciutto or salami as they all add a salty flavor to the sandwich.
3. Layer your favorite spicy ingredients with the cheese.
The spiciness of chili flakes, pickled chiles, or chili paste pair well with the mozzarella’s creamy flavor. All you need to do is place your desired amount of spiced ingredients onto the mozzarella or bread as you’re assembling the sandwich. Then, enjoy a taste of heat with each bite!
For more sandwich and snack recipes, check out the stories below:
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