Friday, September 18, 2015

Mozzarella en Carrozza





     Breaded Mozzarella Pan Fried In Olive Oil!
     Long before Fried Cheese Sticks were marketed by every casual chain restaurant under the sun, fried cheese actually was a classy appetizer.  Many cuisines in the Mediterranean region offer a specialty cooked cheese appetizer that is fried, sautéed, chargrilled or roasted.  Greek Saganaki and Italian Mozzarella en Carrozza are two famous examples.  
     Most modern low budget restaurants and chain restaurants market pre-manufactured Frozen Cheese Stick products.  Frozen Cheese Sticks tend to be very low in quality, because the cheese or coating is artificially modified to prevent the melted cheese from leaking out of the breading.  Frozen Cheese Sticks generally only appeal to customers that are not exactly gourmands and soused bar patrons that need to get some food in their belly.  
     Restaurants that bread their cheese sticks are more quality oriented.  Often the cheese is a gourmet selection.  For example, Stout Battered Brie Cheese is sometimes seen on fine pub menus.  

     Many classic Italian American fine dining restaurants offer Mozzarella en Carrozza as an appetizer for one or two guests.  In general, cheese appetizers are meant to be shared.  Sharing Mozzarella en Carrozza adds to the romantic ambiance of an Italian style dining experience.  Gooey breaded fried Mozzarella certainly can be sensuously entertaining!   
     Mozzarella en Carrozza is a recipe that I learned during my first Italian restaurant apprenticeship.  The Sicilian chef was an award winner from New York City and he exuded class in both his menu and persona.  All he had to do was visit guests at a table and start talking about the appetizer menu, then the guests were ordering everything in sight.  Mozzarella en Carrozza was an easy suggested sale, because the familiar ingredients were easy for guests to imagine.
     Uncomplicated ingredients cooked to perfection is what Mozzerella en Carrozza is all about.  The better the quality of Mozzerella and cooking techniques, the better the slice of pan fried breaded fresh cheese will be!
 
     Marinara Sauce:
     Follow this link to the recipe in this website:  
     • Classic Marinara Sauce

     Mozzarella en Carrozza:
     This recipe yields 1 appetizer that can be shared by 2 guests.
     Breaded mozzarella cheese fries very quickly!  Be ready to flip the mozzarella when frying and be ready to remove it from the hot oil.  It only takes a few minutes to fry breaded mozzarella.  Do not fry for too much time, because the cheese will melt and leak out of the breading.
     Step 1:  Cut a round large ball of Italian Mozzarella Cheese into 2 thick slices.  (The slices should be about 3/8" thick and about 3 1/2" wide.)
     Step 2:  Place 2 cups of plain Italian bread crumbs in a mixing bowl.
     Lightly season with 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Mix the breading ingredients together and set it aside.
     Step 3:  Dredge the Mozzarella Cheese slices in flour.
     Dip the floured cheese slices in egg wash.
     Dredge the egg washed cheese slices in breading mixture.
     *Be sure that the cheese is completely coated with breading or the melted cheese will leak out when it is fried! 
     Step 4:  Gently warm about 2/3 cup of Marinara Sauce in a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.
     Step 5:  Heat cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add enough blended olive oil, so the oil is about 1/2" deep.
     Adjust the temperature so the oil is 350ºF.
     Step 6:  Use a slotted spatula to place the breaded Mozzarella slices in the hot oil.
     Pan fry till the breading is golden brown on both sides.  (Try to only flip the Mozzarella once.)
     *The object is to pan fry the cheese till it softens.  Frying for too much time will liquify the cheese.  
     Step 7:  Use a slotted spatula to remove the fried cheese from the hot oil.
     Place the fried cheese on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
     Step 8:  Spoon the warm Marinara Sauce on the center of an appetizer plate as bed for the fried cheese.
     Overlap the Mozzarella en Carrozza slices on top of the Marinara.
     No garnish is necessary, but a small basil or parsley sprig looks nice!

     Mozzarella en Carrozza is a delicious classic appetizer!

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