This is a simple traditional Italian recipe that is more formal than fried cheese sticks. Mozzarella en carrozza was created many years before modern cheese sticks became popular.
Most pre-manufactured chain restaurant fried cheese sticks are very low in quality. Low quality cheese sticks only appeal to drunken customers and people who want something cheap to eat. Frozen cheese sticks are usually made with second rate cheese that is modified for frying. Better bar and grill restaurants do bread cheese sticks to order.
I learned this mozzarella en carrozza recipe during my first Italian apprenticeship. We did not make our own mozzarella cheese from curds at that restaurant, but we did purchase good mozzarella from an Italian food purveyor.
Later, in another Italian restaurant, I learned how to make fresh mozzarella from curd. It is best to learn how to make fresh mozzarella from an Italian chef or cheese maker than it is to learn it from a book. A sense of feel and the relaxed pace of stretching the mozzarella are easier to learn by sense of feel that is guided by someone with mozzarella making experience.
Aged mozzarella can be used for this recipe. Select an aged Italian mozzarella for better results. Bulk Wisconsin aged mozzarella is not as good as hand crafted Italian aged mozzarella.
Fresh mozzarella should weep milk when squeezed or warmed. Fresh mozzarella is pure white in color. Good fresh mozzarella does not have a rubber texture. Again, a bulk mass produced fresh mozzarella product will not be as good as a small production artisan crafted mozzarella.
If you like high quality fried mozzarella cheese, then this recipe is for you!
Marinara Sauce Recipe:
The proportion of olive oil in a marinara sauce is about 20%. Olive oil is the key to cooking this classic tomato sauce. Without enough olive oil, a marinara will turn out to be "flat" like stewed tomatoes.
Only the best imported Italian tomatoes should be used to make marinara sauce! Marinara sauce has evolved from being a quickly made tomato sauce that prevented scurvy on a seagoing Italian boat, to becoming a signature tomato sauce that features the very best tomatoes in the house. The finest Italian restaurants that I worked in always featured San Marzano tomatoes from Italy in their marinara sauces.
Imported canned Italian San Marzano tomatoes are the very best and they do command a higher price. San Marzano tomatoes are a special breed of plum tomatoes that originated in Peru.
There are also good imported Italian regular plum (Roma) tomato products that make good marinara sauces. Always seek a bright red imported Italian tomato product that is packed in its own juices. The juices should be bright red, rich and not watery. It is best to choose imported Italian tomatoes for marinara that also say "Con Basilico" on the label. Tomatoes that are packed with basil leaves are perfect for making marinara.
Place a 28 ounce can of imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes or Roma plum tomato filets that are packed in their own juices with basil leaves into a mixing bowl. (The can label should read "Filetti di pomodoro con basilico."
Crush and squeeze the tomatoes in their own juices by hand.
Set the tomatoes aside.
Heat 7 ounces of olive oil in a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 8 thin sliced garlic cloves.
Fry the garlic in the oil, till it cooks to a light golden brown color.
Immediately add the tomatoes to the garlic and oil.
Add 1 handful of whole fresh basil leaves.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Bring the sauce to a very gentle boil, while stirring often. (Do not over heat this sauce!)
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Gently simmer the sauce.
Stir the oil into the sauce once every five minutes. The oil must be stirred into the sauce regularly so the olive combines with the tomatoes.
Cook the marinara for almost 45 minutes, till the tomato juices have reduced and till the sauce becomes a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.
Add 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped Italian parsley.
Remove the marinara sauce from the heat. (Marinara is never kept warm on a stove top! Marinara is made to order or reheated to order.)
Place a 6 ounce portion of the marinara in a small sauce pot and reheat the sauce when the fried mozzarella is started.
Mozzarella en Carrozza Recipe:
Cut a round large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese into 2 thick slices. (The slices should be about 3/8" thick.)
Dredge the cheese slices in flour.
Dip the the floured cheese slices in egg wash.
Dredge the egg washed cheese slices in bread crumbs that are seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and oregano.
Heat some blended olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. (The oil should be about 1/2" deep in the pan.)
Add the breaded sliced mozzarella to the hot oil.
Note: Breaded mozzarella cheese fries very quickly! Be ready to flip the mozzarella 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.
Fry the breaded mozzarella, till it becomes golden brown on both sides.
Remove the fried cheese from the oil.
Drain the excess grease off onto a dry towel.
Spoon a little bit of the warm marinara sauce on the center of a plate, so the sauce forms a circle shaped bed for the fried mozzarella.
Place the mozzarella carrozza on top of the marinara.
No garnish is necessary, but a small basil sprig looks nice!
This is a delicious appetizer! The milk weeps from the fried warm soft fresh mozzarella. Mozzarella and a great tomato sauce is a delicious combination. Ciao baby! ... Shawna