Italian fried mozzarella sandwich
The traditional Italian fried mozzarella sandwich recipe
The Neapolitan culinary tradition offers simple but extraordinary dishes, such as Italian fried mozzarella sandwich ( “Mozzarella in Carrozza” in Italian). One of the simplest and tastiest Italian snacks, so popular not only in Italy but all over the world.
Fried soft sandwiches with a rich filling of molten mozzarella, coated with crispy breadcrumbs. Golden and crispy on the outside, creamy and stringy on the inside.
What is a fried mozzarella sandwich?
Mozzarella in Carrozza which in English means “Mozzarella in a carriage” is a recipe created in 1800. Born to be a simple, cheap and frugal meal made with leftover stale bread and old buffalo mozzarella from the day before.
The name derives from its shape. Before the advent of the square sandwich from the supermarket, mozzarella in a carriage was made with two slices of homemade round bread thus recalling the wheel of a carriage.
It is thanks to its rich flavor and its easiness of preparation that nowadays is still one of the most famous snacks that can we can find in the chip shops and in the noisy street markets walking through the alleys of Naples.
In the neighborhood of Naples, there are street markets almost every day, and there are many stalls where sellers fry and sell street food in a takeaway straw paper cone (in Neapolitan called “Cuoppo”) stuffed with all kinds of fried food including mozzarella in a carriage.
The four most famous Italian fried mozzarella sandwich recipes in Italy.
Mozzarella in Carrozza is a snack so tasty that it soon spread like wildfire throughout Italy from north to south.
In fact, it is possible to find variations of this recipe in the surroundings of Rome, in the city of Messina (Sicily), and Venice. Each region has its own variations, which may depend on the ingredients most available on site, or on the needs and tastes that have been handed down over the years.
Let’s find out which are the four most popular variants of Italian mozzarella in a carriage.
Original Neapolitan recipe: which is the basic version made only with buffalo mozzarella. which is much tastier than cow’s milk mozzarella.
Buffalo mozzarella contains much more moisture. So before using it, it is necessary to cut the mozzarella into slices. Place the slices into a strainer or sieve over a bowl, and leave to drain in the fridge for at least a day.
Roman recipe: this version uses cow’s milk mozzarella (Fior di Latte) instead of buffalo mozzarella and adds anchovy fillets, to get a richer and more decisive flavor.
Messina recipe: in this version, Fior di latte mozzarella is closed between two slices of bread brushed with bechamel sauce. In fact, this fragrant nutmeg sauce gives a delicate flavor and an extraordinary creaminess.
Venetian recipe: this version is a little different from the ones above. The slices of bread enclose the mozzarella slices like the others and add slices of cooked ham or anchovy fillets. The difference is in the breading. While for the previous three versions, the mozzarella sandwiches are breaded in the breadcrumbs, in this version the sandwiches are dipped in a leavened batter before being fried.
Below, I will explain how to do it step by step.
Then there would be another version: Mine!
Certainly not as famous as the others, but very popular in my restaurant. I add on each slice of mozzarella a slice of sun-dried tomato (drained and dried with a paper towel from excess oil) and a fresh basil leaf. Try it!
Use your imagination. You can add whatever you like, for example, a slice of grilled or fried aubergine, a slice of grilled pepper, a slice of salami, etc … The important is that they are dry otherwise you risk that your fried mozzarella sandwich will be too soggy.
How to make Italian fried mozzarella sandwich.
To be perfect, mozzarella in a carriage must be crispy, golden and, above all, stringy!
To prepare mozzarella in a carriage, if you use buffalo mozzarella I recommend cutting it into slices about one centimeter thick and draining it in the fridge using a strainer. In this way, during frying, you will not risk that the melting mozzarella comes out of the bread.
If instead, you use Fior di Latte mozzarella, leave it to drain for about half an hour out of the fridge and then cut it into slices and dry them well with a paper towel.
Let’s start to prepare fried mozzarella sandwich
Take three bowls. In the first place the flour, in the second break and whisk the eggs, and in the third place the breadcrumbs.
Trim the crust from two slices of classic sandwich white bread (Whole wheat bread also works well).
Lay the mozzarella slices between two sheets of kitchen towel pressing lightly to dry as much moisture as possible.
Arrange two slices of mozzarella on a slice of bread.
Now depending on which recipe you want to make.
Original Neapolitan recipe, season the mozzarella with salt and pepper.
Roman recipe, add an anchovy fillet over Fior di latte mozzarella .
To make the Messina version, spread a spoonful of bechamel sauce on the slice of bread and then add the mozzarella.
For the Venetian recipe, place on top of the mozzarella a slice of cooked ham or anchovy fillet.
Close the sandwich with another slice of bread by pressing lightly to make the two slices of bread sticks well together.
Cut the mozzarella sandwiches diagonally to get two triangles. Cut in four for smaller triangles, you can cut them to get two rectangles, or leave them whole.
Give to the sandwiches the shape you prefer, but try to limit the waste.
Dredge the sandwich with the mozzarella in the flour until it is completely covered.
Then dip the sandwich in the egg mixture.
Place it on a plate to drain the excess egg.
Put the sandwich in the bowl with the breadcrumbs and coat it to seal well, especially in the edges.
Fry a few sandwiches at a time in a large pan with plenty of peanut or sunflower oil for about two minutes on each side, until crispy and golden. Let them rest on a plate covered with a paper towel for a few minutes, then serve hot!
How to make a leavened batter for Venetian recipe
As mentioned above, the Venetian mozzarella in a carriage is not breaded in the breadcrumbs, but dunked in a leavened batter.
Here’s how to prepare the batter.
200 g of All-Purpose flour
½ glass of milk
½ glass of sparkling water
20 g of brewer’s yeast
a pinch of salt and pepper.
Beat the egg and mix it with water, milk, yeast, salt, pepper, and flour.
The result must be a lump-free batter. Then let it rise for about an hour.
Soak your mozzarella sandwich in the batter and fry them in the same way as the other recipes.
I recommend always to double breading the mozzarella sandwich.
How you do it? Simple! Repeat the steps of breading twice. After the first breading, dip the sandwich again in the egg mixture and coat again in the breadcrumbs.
This is the way to be sure that the mozzarella does not leak out from the sandwich during frying. It will also increase the crunchiness of your sandwich.
Always start from the oil with a temperature of 170-180 °. In this way, by dipping the sandwiches, the oil will stabilize around 160 ° and the cooking will be uniform.
If the oil is too hot, the sandwich mozzarella will be too colorful, but inside it will not be stringy.
To recover it you can pass it in the oven for a few minutes at 160 °.
Do not drop the oil temperature below 160 ° by putting too many sandwiches in the frying pan. Because at that point they will absorb a lot of oil and will no longer release it, becoming too greasy.
How to serve Italian fried cheese sandwich with mozzarella.
In Italy, we eat mozzarella in a carriage as a snack, as an appetizer or we serve it as a dinner dish with a fresh salad.
I hope I have explained to you in a simple way how to prepare this traditional Italian appetizer.
Now it’s your turn.
So prepare the palate: this recipe will please everyone!
Italian Fried Mozzarella Sandwich (Mozzarella in Carrozza)
Slices of Sandwich bread
- 250 gr. Mozzarella Fior di Latte or Buffalo mozzarella
- 4 Eggs
- 100 gr.
- 250 gr. Breadcrumbs
- 8 Anchovy fillets Optional
- 4 Slices Cooked Ham Optional
- 600 ml. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds oil
- Start cutting the mozzarella into 1 cm thick slices. Arrange them on a tray lined with paper towels and cover with other sheets of paper towels. ( If you use buffalo mozzarella before doing this step, leave it to drain in the refrigerator for at least a day ).
- Gently press with your hands to pat the mozzarella and remove excess water. If necessary, change the sheets of kitchen paper until it is completely dry.
- Then trim the slices of bread using a knife, in order to eliminate the external crust.
- Lay the slices of bread on a cutting board, arrange the slices of mozzarella on top, so as to cover the entire surface, but without letting it out from the edges of the bread, salt and cover each slice with another slice of bread.
- Press gently with your hands to compact everything. Continue like this for all the other slices of bread, until you also finish the mozzarella.
- Cut the sandwich to give the shape you prefer.
- Break the eggs in a bowl and beat them with a whisk for a few minutes.
- Take two more bowls. Place the flour in one, and the breadcrumbs in the other.
- Dredge each piece of the sandwich first in the flour, then dip in the egg, so as to cover them entirely.
- Then place them on a plate for a few seconds, in order to remove excess egg and avoid lumps when you pass it in breadcrumbs
- Coat the sandwiches with breadcrumbs pressing lightly with your hand.
- Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and with the blade of a knife lightly press the edges and the surface in order to uniform the breading and have a more precise shape.
- Continue like this for all the other pieces and transfer them on a tray lined with parchment paper.
- I recommend making a double breading. Dip the sandwiches again in the egg, then in the plate to remove the excess one and lastly coat again in the breadcrumbs.
- As previously done transfer the mozzarella sandwiches to a cutting board and with the blade of a knife make the bread uniform.
- Pour the oil into a pan and bring it to the temperature of 170-180 ° at the maximum.
- Fry the sandwiches a few pieces at a time for 1-2 minutes, turning them occasionally with a skimmer.
- When they are crispy and golden-brown, drain them from the oil and transfer them into a tray lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Serve hot.