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I could blame Giada and her deep-fried grilled cheese sandwich, but it wasn’t her fault. I remember when grilled cheese was one or two individually-wrapped slices of “cheese” on white bread. And I use “cheese” loosely.
When is a grilled cheese sandwich not just a grilled cheese sandwich anymore? Today, artisan herbed breads and international cheeses transform the grilled cheese into a gourmet meal way too good for a brown bagger. Grilled cheese is no longer just a grilled cheese when you refer to it in another language. In our home, the ultimate grilled cheese has officially now become mozzarella en carrozza, or mozzarella in a carriage. I will inform my husband of this change in policy this evening!
I had a modified version of Giada’s mozzarella en carrozza for lunch. The bread was crispy, thanks to the egg and flour, and the mozzarella was very oozy. The addition of parmesan cheese gave the sandwich the perfect amount of bite-back without complicating the flavor of the sandwich.
The following recipe (scaled down from Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe) yields 2 sandwiches:
Mozzarella en Carrozza
Grilled cheese is no longer just a grilled cheese when you refer to it in another language. In our home, the ultimate grilled cheese has officially now become mozzarella en carrozza,
- 4 slices of bread
- 4-5 oz sliced whole-milk mozzarella
- 2 large basil leaves (or 3-4 smaller ones)
- 1/8 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg-beaters)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- pinch of salt, pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Pesto, for dipping (optional)
- Heat olive oil in small sauce pan or skillet. Put the flour in a saucer for dredging. Whisk the eggs in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the mozzarella, basil, and parmesan in half.
- Arrange a layer of mozzarella on two slices of bread and top with a basil leaf.
- Top the basil with the parm-reggi and any remaining mozzarella. Press the top slice of bread firmly down on the mixture to compress a bit.
- Place each sandwich in flour, coating both sides of the bread and the edges.
- Here comes the messy part... Place each sandwich in the egg mixture, coating both sides and all edges.
- Place into heated skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 minutes (oozing cheese is normal) and remove.
- Place onto paper towels to soak any traditional oil from the bread. The bread will not soak up much oil at all if it is heated before placing the sandwiches into the pan.
- Cut in to triangles and serve with pesto for dipping.
Yields: 2 sandwiches
Estimated time: 10 minutes