Nothing is tastier or easier to make than mozzarella in carrozza sandwiches, the ultimate comfort food from Naples. This simple and straightforward dish resembles a fried grilled cheese sandwich. All that’s required are a few essential ingredients and some simple frying skills to produce these white bread wonders with oozy mozzarella that are fried to perfection.
Mozzarella in carrozza is a cheesy Italian sandwich that is then fried in oil. The recipe calls for slices of white bread, usually with the crusts cut off, mozzarella cheese, and then eggs, breadcrumbs and flour to create the outer coating. The entire thing is assembled first and then fried in sunflower seed oil and served while the cheese is still stringy and warm.
The word “carrozza” means carriage in Italian. The dish was named “mozzarella in carrozza” most likely because the two slices of bread are a way to carry or contain the mozzarella, so the bread was the “carriage” for the mozzarella inside.
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You can prepare a healthier version of mozzarella in carrozza by following the recipe above and then baking instead of frying. To do so, place the prepped and coated sandwiches on a covered baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 175°C / 350°F for 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning the sandwiches once about halfway through baking.
The classic recipe for mozzarella in carrozza calls for a type of bread called pancarré in Italian, which is just a simple white bread like Wonder bread without a crust. If you can’t purchase this type of bread, you can simply cut the crust off regular white sandwich bread. However, the same recipe can be just as good leaving the crusts on or even using other types of sandwich bread such as whole wheat, farro/spelt or really any kind of bread that either comes pre-sliced or is possible to cut into fairly thin slices.
Mozzarella in carrozza sandwiches make the perfect finger food to serve as an appetizer or during happy hour with a Spritz or a glass of Prosecco. They can be served alongside other fried delicacies such as panzerotti, fried olives and potato croquettes.
While the classic mozzarella in carrozza sandwich is sure to be a hit, once you have perfected the recipe you can add a little something extra to make it fancier. You can layer on some anchovies, basil leaves, olive paste, sun-dried tomatoes or a slice of prosciutto, depending on what you like and what else you are serving it with. The important thing is not to overfill the sandwich, because it will be difficult to fry if it is overflowing or the fillings are coming out the sides.
We do not know mozzarella in carrozza’s exact history or when it was invented because it is a simple dish that originated using leftovers and ordinary ingredients available in most homes and not a more complicated dish like would be found in restaurants. It most likely began being made in its current form in the 19th century, and comes from the Campania region whose capital is the vibrant port city of Naples. The dish is from the peasant cooking tradition, and originally would have used stale day-old bread and leftover mozzarella.
When made in Campania, the typical cheese used is the special buffalo mozzarella from the local area. From here, the dish spread northward to the Lazio region where it became popular using fior di latte mozzarella typical of the region near Rome. There is also a similar dish in Venice, served in the local wine bars, that is a similar fried mozzarella and white bread sandwich and usually has anchovies or ham slices added.